Drinking alcohol 'most days' can reduce diabetes risk

Hero Images via Getty Images

Hero Images via Getty Images

A study has found men who drink three to four times a week slash their risk of type 2 diabetes by 27 per cent, compared to those who drink on less than one day. For women, consuming at least seven drinks over 3 to 4 days was associated with a lower risk for diabetes when compared with abstainers (HR = 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55-0.95).

For the new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 70,000 healthy Danish adults who were surveyed about their health and drinking habits around 2007.

It's important to note, however, that most experts recommend that if you don't already drink alcohol, you shouldn't start because of possible health benefits.

When compared to people who consumed alcohol less than once a week, it was discovered that the people consuming alcohol up to four times a week were at a significantly lower risk to develop diabetes. In a 5-year follow up, respondents had to state whether their drinking frequency increased, decreased, or remained stable over the last five years.

During the study period, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes.

The researchers noted they couldn't tell why alcohol lowered diabetes risk for the participants, as their study was observational rather than a clinical trial or experiment.

The study found that the lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks per week in men and at nine drinks per week in women, relative to no alcohol intake.

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

There was no connection between binge drinking and diabetes.

Drinkers should, however, avoid gin and spirits, which were associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes by 83% in women.

Overall, these findings suggest moderate drinking, 3 to 4 days per week, can have a protective effect when it comes to diabetes. The researchers say that may be because not enough women in their sample reported drinking beer to show a strong association.

"We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect from the amount of alcohol taken". For example, drinking seven or more glasses of wine per week was associated with a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one glass of wine per week. For women, the same frequency was associated with a 32 percent lower risk. Some of the most recent studies have linked moderate drinking with cognitive decline, brain damage and risk of cardiovascular ailments.

Questionnaires asked survey respondents to give details about their drinking patterns, whether they're abstainers, lifetime and current to reduce the risk of bias as a result of those who abstain because of health issues.

Moreover, they stressed that regularly drinking alcohol can still contribute to other serious health complications such as liver disease and some types of cancer.

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