However, public health officials have issued a warning about the findings, saying it’s “not helpful to talk about the effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes alone”.
Having a drink three or four times a week reduces the risk of diabetes, a study suggests.
Men were 23% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if they had a regular alcoholic drink, and women lowered the risk by 32%, compared to people who drank less than once a week.
Red wine had the best results, followed by beer and spirits.
Four million people have the condition in the UK. Frequent alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes in both men and women, according to the research published in health journal Diabetologia.
Alcohol consumption over three or four week days gives the lowest risks of diabetes.
However, public health officials last night issued a warning about the findings.
Rosanna O’Connor, Deputy Director for Drugs and Alcohol at Public Health England, said: “It is not helpful to talk about the effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes alone.
“Consuming alcohol contributes to a vast number of other serious diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and liver disease, so people should keep this in mind when thinking about how much they drink.”
The new study, by Professor Janne Tolstrup and colleagues from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, examined the effects of drinking frequency on Type 2 diabetes risk, and also considered association with specific beverage types.
The study used data from the Danish Health Examination Survey from 2007, in which Danish adults completed a self-reporting questionnaire including items on lifestyle and health.
The study involved over 70,000 people who provided details of alcohol consumption. The participants were followed up until 2012.
During follow up, 859 men and 887 women developed Type 2 diabetes.
In terms of frequency, the data revealed that consumption of alcohol three to four days a week gave the lowest risk of diabetes – a 27% lower risk in men and a 32% lower risk in women – when compared to individuals drinking less than one day per week.
Wine was associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, when compared to beer or spirits, in line with previous studies.
The authors suggest that this might be due to a beneficial effect that polyphenols in wine have on management of blood sugar, giving red wine in particular a potential protective impact.
Professor Tolstrup said:
“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.”
Dr Emily Burns, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, warned that although the study was “interesting”, the results should not be seen as a “green light” to drink lots of alcohol.
Dr Burns said: “Type 2 diabetes risk is complex. Several factors contribute to it, including family history, ethnic background, age and being overweight.
“While these findings are interesting, we wouldn’t recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS guidelines. Especially as the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of Type 2 will be different from one person to the next.
“Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition, and around three in five cases can be prevented or delayed by eating healthily, moving more and losing weight if you’re overweight. If you’re worried about your risk of developing the condition, we’d advise you to speak to a healthcare professional.”
Originally published by Andrew Gregory at Mirror.co.uk
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