New research suggests drinking alcohol a few times a week can reduce your risk of diabetes
According to a study published in Diabetologia, (and publicised on the BBC) people who drink alcohol three-to-four times a week are at less risk of getting type 2 diabetes – compared to those who don’t drink at all. The National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark conducted the study over five years and surveyed more than 70,000 people’s alcohol intake.
Prof Janne Tolstrup, who led the research stated: “We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect from the amount of alcohol taken.”
A woman’s risk of diabetes was lowered by 32% and a man’s by 27% when drinking moderately three-to-four times a week – compared with people who drink less than one day of the week.
Red wine is the most beneficial
It’s the beneficial property of helping to manage blood sugar which makes red wine the healthiest. But exactly how do different types of alcohol compare? Reading the results of the study you see different results depending on which type of alcohol has been consumed. For example, men having one-to-six beers a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 21% compared to those who didn’t. However, drinking beer made no impact on a woman’s risk.
Do you drink spirits instead? Well if you’re a man, the study found that there was no change of diabetes risk when drinking spirits. Alternatively, a woman drinking spirits could significantly increase her risk of getting diabetes. Once again you can see that men and women differ in their processing of alternate kinds of alcohol.
Evidently, this is a controversial study and there are plenty of warnings about the research from various health bodies in the UK.
A warning from Public Health England
People should be warned that these results don’t mean you should go ahead and drink excessively! Public Health England has issued a reminder that consuming alcohol can contribute to some serious other diseases; including cancers, and diseases of the heart and liver.
Final advice from the professionals
Rosanna O’Connor, Director of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco at Public Health England, tells us that: “it isn’t really helpful to talk about how alcohol affects the disease of diabetes alone.” Keeping in mind the effects alcohol can have on your overall health, you should only drink in moderation.
Prof Tolstrup reaffirms this position: “Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions, so we’re not saying ‘go ahead and drink alcohol’.”
So, when reading about this study you must also bear in mind its other findings. While drinking moderately a few times a week was linked to a lower risk of developing heart attack and circulatory conditions, on the other hand, your risk of developing gastrointestinal diseases (such as liver disease and pancreatitis) increased when drinking any amount of alcohol.
What do you think?
Will this study affect how you choose to consume alcohol? Do you think these kinds of studies are beneficial to global public health? The findings of these results do leave room for interpretation, but always keep in mind the NHS guidance and your own doctor’s advice,
If you already have a pre-existing medical condition, like diabetes, you may be interested in getting specialist travel insurance for your medical conditions.