Drinking alcohol four times a week reduces risk of diabetes, study says

Type 2 diabetes Experts have said risk is complex

GETTYType 2 diabetes Experts have said risk is complex

In terms of weekly alcohol amount, the lowest risk of developing diabetes being found in individuals consuming moderate amounts of alcohol.

Consuming alcohol three to four times a week cut men's risk by 27% and women's by 32% - compared to those who abstained.

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

Drinker between one and six beers per week reduced diabetes risk by 21% in men but had no effect on women.

70,000 men and women, apart of a Danish survey on health, were observed for five years and asked about their drinking habits.

The team also looked at how often the participants engaged in binge drinking, and collected information on which alcoholic beverages were consumed and how much each week. Prof Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark and lead researcher for this study said that drinking frequency was associated with diabetes incidence and not the quantity of alcohol consumed. They were followed up for an average of 4.9 years.

A Danish study found beer may protect against diabetes too, although women may want to steer clear of the gin bottle, with "mother's ruin" among the spirits which nearly double the risk.

Researchers concluded that the frequent consumption of alcohol was associated with the lowest risk of diabetes.

The study revealed that men who had 14 drinks per week had a 43 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-drinkers, and women who had nine drinks per week had a 58 percent lower risk compared to non-drinkers.

"Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with the risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3 to 4 weekdays is associated with the lowest risks of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account", the authors wrote.

Researchers can't say why alcohol might protect against diabetes, since this was an observational study rather than an experiment or clinical trial, Tolstrup said.

"Binge drinkers can also develop unpleasant short-term effects, such as sweating, shaking, bad skin, diarrhoea, blackouts and problems sleeping".

Past studies consistently showed that light to moderate drinking carried a lower risk of diabetes compared to sobriety, while heavy drinking had an equal or greater risk.

Gin could have the opposite effect, along with other spirits, increasing women's chances of getting diabetes by 83%.

"Regularly drinking more than the daily guidelines can affect your health in many ways", confirms Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare.

"However, if you are going to drink, it is important to be alcohol savvy, such as drinking spritzers instead of glasses of wine, bottled beer instead of pints and having several alcohol-free days throughout the week". Polyphenols play a role in helping to manage blood sugar.

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