Can regular drinking cut the risk of diabetes?

Last week’s breaking news tells us that drinking alcohol on 3- 4 days of the week reduces the chances of diabetes compared to people who don’t drink at all or rarely drink.

The report comes from studying 70,551 Danish men and women (Holst, Diabetologica 2017). The lowest rates of diabetes were seen in women who drank 10 units / week (about 1 bottle of wine / week) and men drinking 14 units / week (about 1 ½ bottle of wine / week), who had half the rates of non-drinkers.  It is difficult to prove that drinking was really protecting people. The moderate drinkers had a healthier lifestyle than the non-drinkers.  They were less likely to be overweight, sedentary, smoke and have an unhealthy diet which all reduces their chances of diabetes. The researchers do make allowances for this, but these factors could partly account for the lower rates in the drinkers.

The take home message from the study is that moderate/ regular drinking (3- 4 times / week and around 10 units for women and 14 for men) as part of a healthy lifestyle appears fine for health.

Being a healthy weight, being active, following a healthy balanced Mediterranean diet and not smoking are important to reduce the risk of many diseases including breast and other cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia.  Including moderate alcohol in this type of healthy lifestyle is fine for health, although heavier drinking starts increasing cancer and other health risks.

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