Regular alcohol intake linked with lower risk of type 2 diabetes

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After taking into account factors such as age, sex, level of education, body mass index, smoking status, diet, leisure time activity, blood pressure and family history of diabetes, the team found that, as in previous studies, those who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had the lowest risk of developing diabetes.

Drinking in moderation three or four times a week appears to help stave off diabetes compared to both heavy drinkers and people who don't drink.

They said wine had the most substantial effect-probably because it contains chemical compounds that improve blood sugar balance. However for men, a daily beer lowered their diabetes risk by 21%. On the contrary women who drank more were at a greater risk of developing diabetes.

The research showed that individuals of any gender that drink seven glasses of wine a week, lower their risk of diabetes between 25 and 30 percent compared to people that drank less than one glass. In a 5-year follow up, respondents had to state whether their drinking frequency increased, decreased, or remained stable over the last five years. "However, I do not advise patients to start drinking just to reduce risk of developing diabetes".

"This study suggests that drinking little and often is protective for type 2 diabetes", lead author Professor Janne Tolstrup said.

Men consuming 14 drinks per week were found to have a 43% lower risk of diabetes compared to those who didn't drink at all, and women consuming 9 drinks per week had a 58% lower risk compared to abstainers.

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"Binge drinkers can also develop unpleasant short-term effects, such as sweating, shaking, bad skin, diarrhoea, blackouts and problems sleeping". But, women who had 7 or more drinks of spirits per week had an 83 percent increased risk of diabetes compared to women who consumed less than 1 drink of spirits per week.

The study however says that certain types of alcohol had more effect than others. Some of the most recent studies have linked moderate drinking with cognitive decline, brain damage and risk of cardiovascular ailments.

"Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions, so we're not saying "go ahead and drink alcohol"," the health expert added.

"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".

"Alcohol has been suggested to increase insulin sensitivity and lower fasting insulin resistance, which might play an important role in the progression of diabetes", Tolstrup said.

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. For women, the same frequency was associated with a 32 percent lower risk.