Drinking lowers diabetes risk

To drink or not to drink. That is the question. The recommended answer seems to change weekly.

A new study published on the Diabetologia website has revealed that people who drink three to four times a week are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. They also found that it lowered the risk of cardiovascular disorders, such as heart attack and stroke.

The study, Alcohol patterns and risk of diabetes, said that wine seems to work best, because polyphenols, mostly found in red wine, play a role in managing blood sugar.

Men drinking one to six beers a week reduced their risk of diabetes by 21 per cent, but there was no positive effect for women beer drinkers.

Conversely, women who drink high amounts of spirits increased their risk of diabetes, while male spirit drinkers recorded no such increase.

Danish researchers surveyed over 70,000 people, asking about their alcohol intake, including how much and how often they drank.

And although these are promising results for those who enjoy the odd tipple, scientists aren’t necessarily condoning drinking more alcohol. The number of serious illnesses; cancers, heart problems, and gastrointestinal diseases, such as alcohol liver disease and pancreatitis that arise from drinking excessively are difficult to ignore.

“Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions, so we’re not saying ‘go ahead and drink alcohol’,” said Professor Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark.

Current health advice suggests that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. This equates to roughly six pints of average strength beer or 10 glasses of low-strength wine. This should be consumed over three or four sessions, not in one go.

Overall, researchers concluded that drinking moderately three to four times a week reduced a woman’s risk of diabetes by 32 per cent and a man’s risk by 27 per cent, compared to those who drank less than one day a week.

How much do you drink? Are you sceptical about these findings? Do these types of studies sway your alcohol intake one way or another?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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