Moderate drinking helps avoid diabetes risk : study

29 July 2017

A new study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes says people who drink moderately often have a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who never drink.

Men and women who drink a few glasses three to four days a week have the lowest risks of developing diabetes, Danish researchers found.

In people with diabetes, blood glucose - sugar levels are high. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose to be burned as energy, with a hormone called insulin helping our cells absorb glucose.

However, people with diabetes either do not make enough insulin or do not use it effectively. Therefore, sugar builds up in their blood, which causes health problems.

It has been shown in past studies that light to moderate drinking carried a lower risk of diabetes compared to sobriety, while heavy drinking had an equal or greater risk. Though the World Health Organization reported "harmful use of alcohol" contributed to over 200 diseases and injuries, it also acknowledged that light to moderate drinking might be beneficial with respect to diabetes.

Danish researchers polled over 70,000 people on their alcohol intake - how much and how often they drank.

Research leader professor Janne Tolstrup from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark said, "We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect from the amount of alcohol taken.

"We can see it's a better effect to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once."

Follow up of the study participants revealed that after around five years, a total of 859 men and 887 women group had developed diabetes - either type 1 or the more common type 2.

According to the researchers, drinking moderately three to four times a week reduced a woman's risk of diabetes by 32 per cent while it lowered a man's by 27 per cent, compared with people drinking less than one day a week.

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