Diabetes Q&A

Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Diabetes Risk?

A recent study showed that men and women who consume alcohol 3 to 4 days per week have a lower risk of diabetes, compared with individuals who consume alcohol less than 1 day per week.

In their study, the researchers evaluated 76,484 participants between 2007 and 2008 using the Danish Health Examination Survey. Of the total, 28,704 were men, and 41,847 were women. Follow-up lasted a median of 4.9 years.

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Information on alcohol drinking patterns, such as drinking frequency, binge drinking frequency, and consumption of wine, beer, and spirits, was obtained via questionnaires. This information was used to calculate beverage-specific and overall weekly alcohol consumption.

Data on incidence of diabetes was obtained from the Danish National Diabetes Register, and a Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals.

Results indicated that 859 men and 887 women had developed diabetes at follow-up. Men who consumed 14 drinks per week and women who consumed 9 drinks per week had the lowest risk of diabetes, compared with individuals who did not consume alcohol.

Additionally, a drinking frequency of 3 to 4 days per week was associated with a significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women, compared to a drinking frequency of less than 1 day per week. These results were adjusted for confounders and average amount of alcohol consumed weekly.

“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,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Holst C, Becker U, Jørgensen ME, Grønbæk M, Tolstrup JS. Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70,551 men and women from the general Danish population [Published online July 27, 2017]. Diabetologia. doi:10.1007/s00125-017-4359-3.