Drinking wine with meals may lower Type 2 Diabetes risk, but not wine alone

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  • New research shows that drinking wine with meals may help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • A study of more than 300,000 adults over an average of 11-years didn’t show any benefits to beer or liquor. 
  • The findings could be explained by lifestyle factors or non-alcoholic wine components. 

If you’re going to drink alcohol, drink wine — not beer or liquor — with meals, a new study about alcohol intake and diabetes risk suggests. 

Research from the past has proven this. Moderate drinkers may be at lower risk for type 2 diabetesThis is a better than never-drinkers or non-drinkers. However, the current study is the first one to demonstrate this.


Diabetes

Risk may vary depending on how much alcohol is consumed. 

The findings, presented today at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022,These findings, which include controversial research that links moderate alcohol consumption to certain health benefits, are not meant to be a recommendation for non-drinkers, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and AHA.

Higher type 2 diabetes risk was found in beer and liquor drinkers  

Researchers analyzed data from almost 312,400 adults to conduct the study. UK Biobank who said they imbibed regularly. Participants didn’t have any type of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or cardiovascular disease when they signed up for the study. They were also excluded if they had reduced alcohol intake due to illness, doctor’s guidance, or pregnancy.

On average, the participants were 56 years of age and nearly all (95%) were white. A little more than half of the participants were women. 

The researchers wanted to know if previous trials that showed moderate drinking could have a positive impact on glucose metabolism. Also, to see how it might differ depending on when participants drank.

The analysis revealed that approximately 8,600 participants (or 2.75%) developed over an average of 11-years.


Type 2 diabetes

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The risk of developing type 2 Diabetes was 14% lower when drinking with meals than with no food. The analysis showed that wine drinkers were most likely to experience this benefit. The opposite was true for alcohol and beer consumption, which were associated with higher levels of type 2 diabetes risk.

The report doesn’t indicate how much participants drank, but emphasizes that moderate consumption — no more than one drink a day for women and two for men — is key. It didn’t ask participants to distinguish between white wine and red wine or when they drank it. 

“The message from this study is that drinking moderate amounts of wine with meals may prevent type 2 diabetes if you do not have another health condition that may be negatively affected by moderate alcohol consumption and in consultation with your doctor,”Study author Dr. Hao MaIn a press release,, a biostatistical researcher at Tulane University Obesity Research Center, New Orleans, stated. 

Insider was informed by him that the results have had an impact on his drinking habits. “I’m trying to drink some wine with my meals, but for now, I still prefer light beer,”He stated. 

The results could be explained by lifestyle factors or non-alcoholic wine components.  

The results of the study were limited to white adults and cannot be used for other populations. It was also based on self-reports which can be notoriously inaccurate, especially when it comes to alcohol. 

It is also not clear if wine consumption at mealtimes has a direct correlation with reduced diabetes risk. This could be due to non-alcoholic components of wine, such as antioxidants or polyphenals. Or other factors like the fact that moderate wine drinkers have better diets overall. Vandana ShethInsider was told by a registered dietitian, certified diabetes care and education specialist, and he did not participate in the study. 

Wine-loving people may be more likely than others to enjoy good health and access to high quality healthcare. 

“We found that participants who have ‘healthy’ drinking habits also have a healthier lifestyle than others,”Ma spoke to Insider. “However, further adjusting for lifestyle factors and other covariates did not change the results.” 

But since the beer and liquor drinkers in the study didn’t experience the benefits — and in fact were more likely to be harmed — it seems the alcohol itself wasn’t doing participants any favors. 

In January The American Heart Federation published a controversial policy briefCriticizing popularized research proving that moderate drinking is healthy for the heart, they claim there is no safe level of alcohol.

“These claims are at best misinformed,” brief co-author Monika Arora In a news release, “and at worst an attempt by the alcohol industry to mislead the public about the danger of their product.” 

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