CBS Local — Regular consumption of certain alcoholic drinks in moderate amounts could cut a person’s risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study.
Drinking alcohol three or four days a week has been associated with a 32 percent reduced risk in women — and a 27 percent reduced risk in men — when compared with abstaining from alcohol, the researchers in Denmark said.
Wine is considered especially beneficial because it contains chemical compounds that can improve the consumer’s blood sugar balance, the study says. On the contrary, gin and similar spirits could cause the opposite effect, as consuming them increases women’s risk of developing diabetes by 83 percent.
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. That amount should be consumed over a period of three days or more.
“Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with the risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over three to four weekdays is associated with the lowest risks of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account,” said Janne Tolstrup, the study’s lead author and a professor at the University of Southern Denmark.
While previous studies have also indicated that light or moderate drinking can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, the Denmark study was the first to research diabetes’ relationship with the frequency of alcohol consumption.
The scientists surveyed 70,551 men and women, and quizzed the respondents about their drinking habits. They were then monitored for five years.
After monitoring, 859 men and 887 women had developed diabetes. But the researchers did not distinguish between type 1 diabetes and the more common type 2.
Consuming seven glasses of wine weekly lowered the diabetes risk by 25 to 30 percent in both men and women, when compared to those who drank less than one glass per week.