The effects of alcohol on human health and its association with diseases have long been a matter of research. According to a new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), men and women who drink over 3-4 days in a week are less likely to develop diabetes than teetotallers (1). Although heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with diabetes and other diseases, a few studies have also suggested that light to moderate consumption has beneficial effects, particularly on cutting down diabetes risk (1).
The current study used data from the Danish Health Examination Survey (DAHNES) from 2007-2008. In this study, individuals over 18 years of age completed a survey on lifestyle and health. People diagnosed with diabetes, pregnant women, and women who had recently given birth were excluded. Participant follow-up was conducted for 4.9 years (1).
The questionnaire included several aspects such as the frequency of drinking; the type of beverage-wine, beer, and spirits; and the change in drinking pattern in the last 5 years. Variables such as age, sex, diet, smoking status, BMI, physical activity, hypertension, and family history of diabetes were accounted for (1).
Individuals consuming moderate amounts of alcohol were found to have the lowest risk of diabetes. The risk was 43% lower in men who consumed 14 drinks per week compared to those who did not drink at all. Moreover, a 58% lower risk was seen in women who consumed 9 drinks per week in comparison to those women who completely abstained from alcohol (1).
The risk was also lower in individuals who drank 3-4 days a week compared to those who drank one day per week i.e. 27% in men and 32% in women. This study did not report any clear association between binge drinking and the risk of diabetes because of very few participants reporting binge drinking (1).
Among the different types of beverages, wine, in particular, was reported to have a higher impact in both men and women. Individuals consuming 7 or more glasses of wine were shown to have 25-30% lower diabetes risk than those consuming less than 1 drink of wine per week (1). Similarly, 1-6 beers were associated with a 21% lower risk of diabetes in men, but no association was found for women.
In men, the study found that there was no specific statistical association between the average consumption of spirits and diabetes. Nonetheless, women drinking more than 7 drinks of spirits were associated with and 83% increased the risk of diabetes (1).
To sum it up, while the study showed that chugging a few drinks does reduce diabetes risk as compared to having none at all, what the reason behind this could remain unknown.
Credit: Dr. Neha on behalf of Borderless Access
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