Danish researchers have found that drinking about 3-4 days a week is inversely associated with diabetes. The study based on data from the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-08 found that the lowest risk of diabetes was recognized at 14 drinks a week for men and 9 drinks a week for women.
The study followed up on 76,484 participants from the general Danish population over about five years. Of the 28,704 men and the 41,847 women, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes, during the follow-up period.
Compared to people drinking less than one day a week, women who drank 3-4 times a week had their risk of diabetes reduced by 32 percent, while this number was 27 percent for men, the BBC reported.
The frequency of drinking, binge drinking, and wine and beer intake, were studied through self-reported questionnaires.
"We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect on the amount of alcohol taken,” Prof Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, who led the research, said.
Interestingly, wine and notably red wine, rich in polyphenols, help to manage blood sugar, the BBC reports.
The study suggests that the effect varied depending on the type of alcohol consumed. The beer had no effect on women but men who had between one to six beers a week had their risk of diabetes reduced by 21 percent, compared to those who had less than a beer a week.
Contradictorily, the risk of diabetes was increased among women who had a high intake of hard liquor, though this was not noticed in the men.
"The impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of type 2 will be different from one person to the next," Dr. Emily Burns, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, warned, commenting on the findings.
"Wouldn’t recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS [National Health Service, UK] guidelines," she stressed.
Prof Tolstrup, who has studied the effects of alcohol on a variety of conditions, said: "Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions, so we're not saying 'go ahead and drink alcohol'."
While she found that moderate drinking a few times a week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disorders like heart attack and stroke, any alcohol consumption at all increased the risk of gastrointestinal disorders like pancreatitis and alcohol liver disease.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 415 million adults have diabetes, meaning one in every eleven people. That number is projected to increase to 642 million in 2040 or one in every 10 people.
One in every seven births is affected by gestational diabetes and every 6 seconds a person dies from diabetes. These numbers are from 2015.
That year the U.S. spent $348 billion on diabetes. The country recorded one of the highest number of deaths in the world due to diabetes that year – more than 219,400.