A new Danish study revealed that regular consumption of small to moderate amount of alcohol might actually lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, showed that people who drink alcohol over three to four days per week were less likely to develop diabetes than those who only consume alcohol once each week.

Drinking patterns and diabetes risk

For the study, researchers used the data of over 70,000 people included in the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008.

The survey participants, consisting of 28,704 men and 41,847 women, were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their alcohol drinking patterns, lifestyle and overall health. Based on the participants’ self-reported Drinking Habits, the researchers were able to calculate their beverage-specific and overall average weekly alcohol intake.

The researchers conducted a follow-up after an average of five years to track the total incident cases of diabetes among the participants. They found that men who reported consuming 14 drinks per week were 43 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-drinkers.

Women who reported consuming nine drinks per week have 58 percent lower risk of developing diabetes relative to no alcohol intake. The lowest risk of diabetes was seen in participants who reported drinking alcohol over three to four days per week, regardless of their average weekly alcohol consumption.

The type of alcohol matters

Consuming seven or more drinks of wine per week were associated with 25 to 30 percent lower risk of diabetes.

While the researchers observed about 21 percent lower risk of diabetes in men drinking between one and six bottles per week, no significant association were found between beer intake and lower risk of diabetes in women.

Interestingly, the researchers found little beneficial effects from hard liquor. Weekly drinks of spirit were not associated with diabetes risk in men, but women who reported consuming seven or more drinks of spirits were 83 percent increased risk in diabetes.

Despite the potential beneficial effect of alcohol in lowering diabetes risk, experts warn that people should not increase their weekly alcohol consumption just to prevent diabetes. The study only showed an association between alcohol consumption and diabetes and the not causal relationship between the two. This suggests that there might be other factors at play.

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