A team of Danish researchers found that regular and moderate alcohol consumption lowers the risk for diabetes in both men and women compared to those who do not consume alcohol at all.
The study was published in the journal Diabetologia and conclusions from the study were derived using the data of 76,484 survey participants who reported their drinking habits in the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption A Week Keeps Diabetes Away
Out of the 76,484 people who took the Danish Health Examination Survey, 70,551 individuals were deemed eligible and were monitored for an average of 4.9 years for the study. The eligible participants were composed of 41,847 women and 28,704 men and all of them self-reported about their drinking patterns and type of alcoholic beverage consumed.
The researchers reported that 887 women and 859 men were diagnosed with diabetes during their follow up, but noted that individuals who reported drinking regularly had the lowest risk of diabetes. The researchers did not specify how many of the reported cases were type-1 or type-2, but they say the results were still consistent even when those under 40 were removed (which would potentially eliminate type-1 diabetics from the results).
As for the other participants, however, the team observed that men who drank up to 14 drinks and women who consumed nine drinks spread out over the course of a week showed a significantly reduced risk of diabetes compared to the individuals who consumed less, once a week, or none at all.
"Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account," the researchers conclude.
A different study recently revealed that drinking alcohol helps improve our memory, so these new findings would really make drinkers raise a glass in celebration.
Raise Your Glass But Don't Drink From It Yet
The UK's National Health Service considers the possibility that the researchers could have made a huge jump to arrive at their conclusion. The NHS urges everyone to exercise caution because the study, while interesting, has several weaknesses and limitations that reduce the validity of its claim.
First off, the NHS confirmed that the survey data the study used came from a previously published cohort study that was funded by the Ministry of the Interior and Health and the Tryg Foundation, but this new study was carried out independently by the researchers and is not connected to the previous one.
According to NHS, the researchers used appropriate statistical methods to make up for missing data, and attempt to take into account other factors that could affect the outcome, such as diet and exercise, but still lacked the necessary details to be considered significant.
One of the main weaknesses of the study was that it based the risk factor of participants for diabetes on their drinking habits from a single point in time. That is, it seems there was an assumption that their drinking habits did not change at all over the course of five years, which may or may hold true. The study also did not account for other diseases and treatments that could have affected their results or contributed to the diabetes diagnoses.
The NHS also noted that the data on drinking habits and frequency came from the participants, but there were no details on what they specifically consume because they could actually be drinking a mixture of drinks within the specified limit. Even the recommended beverages were not based on the results of the research.
The fact that the diabetes types of the diagnosed individuals were not specified is also a big limitation because type-1 and type-2 diabetes have different causes.
"Although this study found an interesting association between alcohol drinking habits and risk of developing diabetes, this study does not present strong enough evidence to recommend adopting a particular drinking pattern to reduce diabetes risk ... Overall, it is unclear whether the link between moderate alcohol drinking and diabetes is real," the NHS concludes.
It is probably safe to say not everyone agrees with the results of the research, but there's also that other study, which claims even moderate drinking could damage our brains.