Regular alcohol drinking may reduce the risk of diabetes

iStock_000015704019XSmallRegular alcohol drinking may reduce the risk of diabetes

Danish researchers have examined the association between drinking patterns and the risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. More than 70 000 individuals participated in the study. Self- reported questionnaires were used to obtain information on frequency of alcohol drinking and consumption of wine, beer or spirits. Overall average weekly alcohol intake was calculated and then compiled with national data on type 2 diabetes frequency. Analysis indicates that frequent consumption (i.e. several times a week) of moderate amounts of alcohol is associated with the lower risk of diabetes. It has been also confirmed, that the frequency of consumption has significantly greater impact on the probability of illness than drinks amount.

Wine has been suggested to have particularly protective effects. It is owed to polyphenols, natural phytochemical compounds found in red wine, that may exert beneficial effects on blood glucose control. Moreover, Danish researchers have observed that the risk of diabetes is significantly lower among people who drink wine 3 – 4 times a week, compared to those who drink less than once a week. Incidence decreases by 32% in men and 27% in women, respectively. The risk of diabetes is also reduced with beer drinking, however this effect has a lower extent. The risk decreases by 21% in men drinking 1 – 6 drinks of beer/week when compared with those drinking less. No comparable correlation was observed for women. Beer does not protect them against diabetes. It has been also shown that spirits do not have any protective effect, regardless of sex. For women, the risk may even increase when spirits are consumed in larger quantities. Results of the analysis are least optimistic for gin amateurs. Drinking a gin glass several times a week increases the risk of diabetes by 83% for women.

Despite of all, the main researcher, Prof. Janne Tolstrup from the University of South Denmark, does not encourage drinking. She warns in „Diabetologia”, that frequent use of alcohol does not protect against the occurrence of other conditions. Alcohol adversely affects digestive tract, especially liver and pancreas. And more importantly, alcohol abuse destroys health.

Written by: Magdalena Kwapisz

Source: Holst Ch, Becker U, Jørgensen M, Grønbæk M, Tolstrup J. Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70,551 men and women from the general Danish population. Diabetologia. 2017 Jul 27 doi: 10.1007/s00125-017-4359- 3.

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