Lower My Risk of Diabetes? I’ll Drink to That!

Beautiful woman smiling as she is wine tasting on a summer day.
How many grams of alcohol are in this wine?

Judicious alcohol consumption is linked to lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes: 40% lower risk in women, 13% lower in men. 

The latest issue of Diabetes Care reports the comparison of lifetime abstainers with alcohol drinkers.  The protective “dose” of alcohol is 22–24 grams a day.  I’ll leave it to you to figure out how much alcohol that is.  Prior studies looking at overall health benefits of alcohol indicate that judicious consumption is ≤ one drink daily, on average,  for women, and  ≤ 2 drinks a day for men.

Of course, many people shouldn’t drink any alcohol.  

Steve Parker, M.D.  

Reference:  Baliunas, D., et al.  Alcohol as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysisDiabetes Care, 32 (2009): 2,123-2,132.


Filed under Alcohol, Prevention of T2 Diabetes

3 responses to “Lower My Risk of Diabetes? I’ll Drink to That!

  1. I’ve always noticed that docs usually always stop short of recommending alcohol to patients for clearly understandable and common sensical reasons. Do you know of any studies where people looked at the risk-benefit analysis of alcohol consumption of newly decided drinkers? I’m curious to know what percent of patients would be harmed from starting to drink versus any benefit.

    • The American Journal of Medicine in 2008 examined the health outcomes of middle-aged people who decided to take up drinking alcohol. Compared with non-drinkers, they had a 38% lower risk of cardiovascular events. Death rates were not affected in this study that lasted only four years.

      Here’s my blog post on the study:

      Most physicians are hesitant to recommend someone start drinking because they don’t want to be blamed for the adverse effects that inevitably occur on a polulation-wide basis. It’s safest to present all the facts, then let the individual decide for himself.


  2. Interesting. Not really a prospective, randomized trial but fascinating regardless.