Drink wine, not beer, to stave off diabetes
20 May 2016
Wine lovers might have one more reason to open a bottle of Pinot this weekend.
A new analysis shows regular wine consumption not only reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is more protective than either beer or spirits.
Several earlier meta-analyses, which combine the results of several studies, have found a protective effect of alcohol consumption in diabetes, say researchers from Huazhong University in China, but theirs is the first to look at specific types of alcoholic drinks.
Data from 13 studies involving 400,000 people shows wine consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 15%, compared with abstention.
Consumption of beer or spirits also reduces risk, but by much smaller amounts (4% and 5%, respectively).
The researchers found a U-shaped relationship with all 3 types of alcohol, with the lightest consumption having a negligible effect and the heaviest consumption a detrimental effect.
Drinking one to 2 glasses of wine daily led to the largest risk reduction of around 20%. One to 2 daily beers cut the risk by 9% and a couple of shots of spirits a day reduced it by 5%.
The researchers suggest one biological mechanism may be the effects of the compound resveratrol found in wine, which animal studies have shown controls blood glucose levels and also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
But they also caution that not all studies had adjusted for potential confounders, such as socioeconomic status.
Wine drinkers may be better off and at less risk of diabetes for other reasons, they say.