Does Moderate Drinking Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes?

We know excessive drinking is unhealthy, but then there are doctors who say that a single glass of wine each night can be good for your heart. So what matters—the amount? The frequency? The type? Here's what you should know.

Let's Set The Record Straight

A recent study in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, concluded that moderate drinkers actually may have a lower risk of diabetes than people who abstain completely.

The key factors seem to be the number of drinks consumed in a week as well as the type of alcohol in question.

Everything In Moderation

People who drank a moderate amount of alcohol each week showed decreased risk of diabetes. In men, "moderate" was taken to mean 14 drinks per week, matching up with a 43% lower risk. In women, the magic number was nine, correlated with a 58% lower risk.

Additionally, men and women who spread their weekly drinks over three or four days, rather than just one, also developed nearly a third less risk for diabetes.

It's More Than The Pour

It's not just the amount, though. People's choice of drink also matters.

People who drink seven or more glasses of wine per week tend to have a 25 to 30% lower risk for diabetes. Researchers said the reason had to do with the chemical makeup of red wine itself, which may have a positive impact on blood sugar.

When it comes to liquor and beer, things are a little less optimistic. Men who drank one to six beers per week showed a 21% lower risk of diabetes, but there was no correlation between male liquor drinkers and diabetes rates.

For women, beer seemed to have a neutral effect on diabetes risk. But liquor, on the other hand, could hurt: women who drank 7+ liquor drinks in a week showed 83% higher risk of diabetes than women who drank an average of less than one per week.

Stick To Wine Or Beer

Overall, your safest bet is wine in moderation.

Women should stick to wine or beer at a rate of around seven to nine drinks per week. Men have a little more wiggle room in both type and number, but anyone with a family history of diabetes would be wise to stick with wine.