Published on 15 August 2017

Although healthcare professionals do not encourage drinking more due to other health risks.

A study by researchers in Denmark has found that drinking alcohol several times a week could present a reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study was carried out after researchers noticed a pattern that suggested people who developed diabetes were less likely to have drunk alcohol moderately and frequently compared with those who did not develop diabetes.

A study of more than 70,000 people who had completed a survey on their lifestyle and dietary habits – including drinking alcohol - in 2007-2008 was followed-up four years later to see if they had been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes since

The results, recently published in Diabetologia, found that 859 men and 887 women who took part in the study had developed diabetes.

The lowest risk of developing diabetes was reported in men who said they had 14 alcoholic drinks per week in men and women who had nine alcoholic drinks per week.

Researchers noted that men who drank up to six glasses of beer a week were found to have a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who did not. In contrast, women who regularly drank more than seven spirits a week had an increased risk of developing diabetes compared with those who drank spirits once a week or less.

An NHS Behind the Headlines analysis of the study concluded: “Overall, it is unclear whether the link between moderate alcohol drinking and diabetes is real. It is not proof that starting to drink more, especially for those who do not currently drink, is useful in preventing diabetes. There are other risks, such as liver damage, to consider when drinking frequent or large volumes of alcohol above recommended limits.”

Current NHS guidelines recommend that men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

Read the study report in Diabetologia
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