Alcohol and Diabetes

Moderate alcohol consumption reduced the risk of diabetes by 30-60%, slightly more in women then men.  About 75,000 subjects were followed for 5 years. These findings are overall in agreement with cardiovascular benefits of alcohol. This could stem from improving insulin resistance, a well known risk for both diabetes and CVD. 





July 2017

Aims/hypothesis: Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with diabetes, but little is known about the role of drinking patterns. We examined the association between alcohol drinking patterns and diabetes risk in men and women from the general Danish population.

Methods: This cohort study was based on data from the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007–2008. Of the 76,484 survey participants, 28,704 men and 41,847 women were eligible for this study. Participants were followed for a median of 4.9 years. Self-reported questionnaires were used to obtain information on alcohol drinking patterns, i.e. frequency of alcohol drinking, frequency of binge drinking, and consumption of wine, beer and spirits, from which we calculated beverage-specific and overall average weekly alcohol intake. Information on incident cases of diabetes was obtained from the Danish National Diabetes Register. Cox proportional hazards model was applied to estimate HRs and 95% CIs.

Results: During follow-up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes.

The LOWEST RISK of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks/week in men (HR 0.57, p<0.05) and at 9 drinks/week in women (HR 0.42, p<0.05), relative to no alcohol intake.

Compared with current alcohol consumers consuming <1 day/week, consumption of alcohol on 3–4 days weekly was associated with significantly lower risk for diabetes in men (HR 0.73, p<0.05) and women (HR 0.68, p<0.05) after adjusting for confounders and average weekly alcohol amount.


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.