Drinking Wine For Diabetes Prevention: Moderate Alcohol Consumption Manages Blood Sugar

Ellen Mills
July 29, 2017

A study conducted in Denmark has found that drinking alcohol most days of the week can significantly protect against developing diabetes.

When assessing the risk between frequency of alcohol drinking and type 2 diabetes incidence, researchers found that only consumption of alcohol 3 to 4 days per week was associated with a reduced risk for developing diabetes, after adjusting for average weekly alcohol amount and other confounders; HR for men was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.59-0.94), and HR for women was 0.68 (95% CI, 0.53-0.88).

Wine was found to have a better effect than beer and this was believed to be down to the fact that it contains chemical compounds that improve blood sugar balance.

Wine will reduce the risk by more than 25 percent and beer by 21 percent for both men and women.

But the researchers said the study's findings should not encourage alcohol consumers to drink more than what most doctors would encourage: no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which roughly equates to six pints of beer. Among men reporting consuming alcohol less than 1 day per week or between 1 and 2 days per week, beer represented about half the amount of alcohol consumed; for men reporting drinking alcohol 3 to 4 days per week or more, wine represented half of the total alcohol intake.

"Especially as the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of Type 2 will be different from one person to the next".

The risk of development was lowest with those who reported consumption of 14 drinks/week among men and 9 drinks/week among women compared to people who did not take alcohol at all.

They began by gathering data from Danish citizens 18 years old or older who completed the Danish Health Examination Survey. Over this time period, about 850 men and 890 women developed diabetes. But the researchers did not distinguish between type 1 diabetes and the more common type 2.

The professor Janne Tolstrup said that as per their findings they found the alcohol drinking frequency associated with the risk of diabetes.

For decades, physicians have warned us to avoid alcohol, as its high sugar content could predispose one to diabetes.

The timing of those drinks also mattered. They also observed the risk level after taking the nine drinks per week for women.

"Alcohol has been suggested to increase insulin sensitivity and lower fasting insulin resistance, which might play an important role in the progression of diabetes", Tolstrup said.

"Several factors contribute to it, including family history, ethnic background, age and being overweight".

"Any recommendations about how to drink and how much to drink should not be inferred from this study", she says, "or any study investigating associations between alcohol and a single outcome such as diabetes". "Regularly drinking more than this can increase the risk to your health". For women across all alcohol frequency groups, wine represented more than half of all alcohol intake.

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