Can moderate consumption of alcohol reduce diabetes risk? Researchers say yes!

Type 2 diabetes Experts have said risk is complex

The study suggests this could be because wine comprises of polyphenols, natural phytochemical compounds found in red wine, which could play a positive role on blood glucose control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Consuming alcohol three or four days a week was associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes - a 27% reduction in men and a 32% reduction in women - compared with abstaining, scientists found.

Women can cut their odds by nearly a third, with the polyphenols from the grapes in red wine believed to help control blood sugar.

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.

The authors of the study concluded: "Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account".

Incredibly, a recent study by Cancer Research UK found nine in 10 people were totally unaware that alcohol increased their cancer risk. They were then monitored for five years. In total during the follow up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. As type 2 diabetes is much more common, the clear majority of diabetes diagnoses recorded will have been for type 2 diabetes.

"It's better to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once", said Prof Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark. The alcoholic beverage not only acts as a stress reliever, it can also protect us from diabetes. However, WHO has also said that moderate drinking could be beneficial when it comes to diabetes.

Women however showed an 83% increased risk of diabetes if they drank 7 or more drinks of spirits per week when compared with women consuming less than 1 drink, although there was no statistically significant association for men. People who have diabetes either don't make enough insulin or don't use it effectively.

The study however says that certain types of alcohol had more effect than others. Several risk factors for type 2 diabetes include lifestyle factors, body weight, especially around the waist, and family history.

"However, we do not recommend that anyone drink alcohol for its potential health benefits - for adults who do choose to drink, it is important to drink in moderation". There was no impact on women's risk.

The possible health benefits of drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, according to the US' Mayo Clinic, include reducing your risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke and diabetes. In other words, it's possible that binge drinking is linked to diabetes risk, but more research is needed.

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