People who enjoy an alcoholic beverage every few days may have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially if they drink wine, a study suggests. 
Researchers write in the journal Diabetologia that people who drank 3 to 4 days a week were about 30% less likely to develop the disease, which can cause disability and death if not treated properly.
Past studies have suggested that consuming up to 7 drinks a week for women and up to 14 drinks a week for men reduces the risk of diabetes, compared to abstaining entirely. Heavier drinking is known to increase the risk, though.
Drinking up Makes Your Risk Go Down
For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 70,000 healthy Danish adults who completed questionnaires about their drinking frequency, how often they engaged in binge drinking, and what they drank – beer, wine, or spirits. The participants were tracked for 5 years to see who developed Type 2 diabetes.  
During follow-up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. 
The study found that:
- In terms of volume, men who had 14 alcoholic drinks a week had a 43% lower risk of diabetes compared with non-drinkers, and women who had 9 alcoholic drinks a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 58%, compared to those who don’t drink at all. 
- In terms of frequency, those who drank alcohol 3 to 4 times a week had the lowest risk of diabetes.
- Men and women who consumed 7 or more glasses of wine each week had a 25% and 30% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to participants who had less than 1 glass, respectively.
The researchers 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.” 
In the study, when participants drank was as important as what they drank.
Janne Tolstrup, professor of epidemiology and intervention research at the University of Southern Denmark’s National Institute of Pubic Health and lead author of the study, said:
“For the same total weekly amount of alcohol, spreading it out on more days is better than drinking it all together.” 
Comparing Wine, Beer, and Spirits
This study, like studies before it, found that moderate-to-high wine consumption, in particular, was associated with lower diabetes risk. Researchers believe that could be due to the polyphenol compounds in red wine, which may help manage blood sugar.
One of the more interesting – and confusing – findings of the study was that moderate beer drinking was associated with a lower diabetes risk for men, but that was not found to be true for women. Beer contains a lot of carbohydrates, and carbs can increase blood sugar levels. What’s more, 70% of all alcohol consumed by women was wine, so the beer results for women are “unsure.”
However, women who consumed at least 7 hard-liquor drinks per week were found to have an 83% increased risk of diabetes compared to women who only consumed 1. Tolstrup said the latter finding is uncertain, since fewer people in the study said they drank spirits regularly. 
The study does not prove that moderate drinking lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Tolstrup said, noting that alcohol consumption is linked to more than 50 different diseases and conditions, both positive and negative. For example, the study did not take into account the increased risk of breast cancer associated with even low levels of alcohol consumption. (Though there is evidence to suggest that red wine consumption may lower breast cancer risk.)
“There seemed to be little beneficial effects from spirits.” 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “harmful use of alcohol” contributes to more than 200 diseases and injuries. However, the health body does acknowledge that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may be beneficial when it comes to diabetes. 
“Any recommendations about how to drink and how much to drink should not be inferred from this study, or any study investigating associations between alcohol and a single outcome such as diabetes.” 
Alcohol affects every organ system in the body. People should continue to follow current guidelines for moderate drinking. And, no, you shouldn’t start drinking if you don’t already.
 Health Day