Latest scientific news 11 August 2017

Drinking patterns matter for diabetes prevention

A Danish prospective study attempted to investigate the association between drinking patterns and diabetes risk.  The results indicated that frequent moderate drinking is associated with the lowest diabetes risk.

Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages has been shown to be inversely associated with diabetes, but so far, little is known about the role of drinking patterns. Danish scientists examined the association between alcohol drinking patterns and diabetes risk in men and women from the general Danish population. The analysis included 28,704 men and 41,847 women. Self-reported questionnaires were used to obtain the information on the alcohol drinking patterns.

During the close to 5-year follow-up period, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. Compared to no alcohol intake, the lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks (*) per week in men (risk reduction = 43 %) and at 9 drinks per week in women (risk reduction = 58 %). Compared to current drinkers having no or hardly ever an alcoholic drink, moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages on 3-4 days weekly was associated with 27 % significantly lower risk for diabetes in men and a 32 % lower risk in women. Different types of alcoholic beverages had varying effects, wine and particularly red wine appearing to be beneficial due to polyphenols helping to manage blood sugar.

The authors concluded that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcoholic beverages on 3-4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking the average weekly alcohol consumption into account. Professor Tolstrup added: “we can see it’s a better effect to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once.

(*) 1 Danish standard drink corresponds to 12 g of ethanol.

Holst C, Becker U, Jørgensen ME, et al.  Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70,551 men and women from the general Danish population. Diabetologia. 2017 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print]

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