Moderate Drinking Might Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Wine-drinkers see the most benefit in large study.



Wine lovers, rejoice – your favorite vintage may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. A new study has found that moderate consumption of wine or other alcohol may actually reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and that wine seemed to provide the most benefit.

The Journal of Diabetes Investigation published a meta-analysis of 13 studies on alcohol and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This meta-analysis, which involved 397,296 study participants over a 10-year period, focused on whether the amount of alcohol consumed and the type of alcohol consumed affected the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Crunching the data, researchers at Wuhan University in China found that daily wine-drinkers who drank in moderation had the greatest reduction in risk (15%) of the groups when compared to those who didn’t drink or rarely drank.

For those of you already plotting your evening drinks, moderation in this study meant roughly one glass of wine, one beer, or one shot of distilled spirits.

Researchers then examined whether the amount of alcohol consumed affected diabetes risk. They divided people into three categories: those who drank roughly one drink a day or less, those who drank between one and two drinks a day, and those who drank two drinks a day or more. These groups were compared to those who did not drink or who rarely drank. In this part of the study, researchers found that those who drank two drinks a day or more saw the highest risk reduction (20%) of the three groups of drinkers.

Researchers aren’t sure why moderate alcohol consumption might reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, or why wine lovers might enjoy the most benefit. One cause might be that there is a substance found in alcohol that may help lower blood sugar levels. Another possible explanation is that wine consumption might reflect higher economic income or social status, which is associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes. More research will be needed to determine if there is indeed a healthful substance in alcohol that protects moderate drinkers from Type 2 diabetes, and, if so, whether that substance should be extracted and given to those who should not or choose not to drink.

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Kate Doughty is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, where she is studying English with an area concentration in literary prose. She can be reached at kdoughty@epscomm.com.