Latest scientific news 29 June 2016

Decreased type 2 diabetes risk of moderate wine drinkers

The current meta-analysis is the first to explore the relationship between specific types of alcoholic beverages and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. The results indicated that moderate wine drinkers had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by high blood glucose levels and a lack of insulin or a reduced ability of cells to respond to insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues (insulin resistance). Approximately 642 million people around the world are estimated to develop diabetes by the year 2040 and 12% of the global health expenditure was spent on diabetes in 2010. Type 2 diabetes has become a global public health concern due to an aging population and lifestyle changes (lack of exercise, diet, etc.). Because of the rapid increase in prevalence worldwide and the considerable health care cost involved, it is important to identify risk factors to prevent type 2 diabetes.

One of the modifiable lifestyle factors related to diabetes risk is alcohol intake. Diabetics are usually discouraged from drinking alcoholic beverages. However, previous meta-analyses have shown a U-shaped relationship between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the risk of type 2 diabetes indicating a protective effect for moderate drinkers of alcoholic beverages compared to abstainers. In some studies, a greater benefit for wine drinkers was observed. The current meta-analysis systematically assessed the association of specific types of alcoholic beverages with the risk of type 2 diabetes. 13 prospective studies with a total of 397,296 participants and 20 641 cases of type 2 diabetes were included. The results demonstrated a U-shaped relationship of all three types of alcoholic beverages with the risk of type 2 diabetes. A moderate dose of wine such as 20-30g/day led to the peak reduction of 20%. It was apparent that wine had a better protective effect than beer and spirits. All levels of wine consumption (low: < 10 g/d, moderate: 10-20g/d and high: >20g/d) were associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. As a possible reason for this phenomenon, the researchers suggest the polyphenols in wine.

The authors concluded that the meta-analysis provides strong evidence for the different effects of specific alcoholic beverages on reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Wine consumption might be more helpful for protecting against type 2 diabetes than beer or spirits. The causality needs to be determined in long-term randomized controlled trials.

Huang J, Wang X, Zhang Y, Specific types of alcoholic beverage consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis, 2016, J Diabetes Investig, Vol , No

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.