Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Help Prevent Diabetes, Say Chinese Researchers

“The findings of this meta-analysis show a positive effect of alcohol on glucose and fat metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes.”


According to a scientific review by Chinese researchers, drinking a glass of wine or a pint of beer each day may help prevent type 2 diabetes.The researchers found that drinking around 2.5 units a day could help improve glucose metabolism.

In type 2 diabetes, people have increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance because their ability to break down glucose is impaired, which also causes weight gain.  

However, experts have criticized the bold statement made by the Chinese researchers about reviewing the alcohol guidelines for people with diabetes.

Generally, alcohol consumption can lead to dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while the sugar content in it can result in obesity.

The study was presented at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain. However, the study is not yet published.

The researchers said that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol has been found to improve the body’s ability to break down glucose, reducing insulin levels. High blood sugar level, which is caused by insulin resistance, signals pancreases to secrete more amount of inulin, causing weight gain.

Also, the researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with relatively low levels of triglycerides, a type of food fat. High triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease.

However, the scientists did not find any significant effect of alcohol consumption on fasting sugar levels or HbA1C (glycosylated hemoglobin) and total cholesterol, including LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol.

Study author Dr. Yuling Chen said, “[The] findings of this meta-analysis show a positive effect of alcohol on glucose and fat metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes. Larger studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of alcohol consumption on blood sugar management, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

The researchers defined moderate consumption as 2.5 units, which means less than or equal to 20g of alcohol a day. This is equivalent to a glass of wine or a pint of beer.

According to US alcohol guidelines for diabetics, no more than two servings per day for men and one serving per day for women. One serving of alcohol equals 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 1-1/2 ounces of distilled spirits.