In the study, published today (July 27) in the journal Diabetologia, researchers found that drinking alcohol three to four days a week was associated with a lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one day a week.
The beneficial effect is believed to be linked to the presence of polyphenols in wine, which are molecules that help the human body better manage blood sugars levels. On the contrary, gin and similar spirits could cause the opposite effect, as consuming them increases women's risk of developing diabetes by 83 percent.
Danish experts surveyed 76,484 people - 28,704 men and 41,847 women - as part of the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008, which collected data about consumers' alcohol intake, including the quantity and frequency of their drinking. Senior researcher Janne Tolstrup noted that people saw most benefits if they spread those drinks throughout the week, rather than drinking them in one or two days.
When compared to people who consumed alcohol less than once a week, it was discovered that the people consuming alcohol up to four times a week were at a significantly lower risk to develop diabetes. Respondents were quizzed about their drinking habits and monitored for five years. "However, I do not advise patients to start drinking just to reduce risk of developing diabetes".
During the follow-up period, a total of 859 men and 887 women from the study group developed diabetes. The alcoholic beverage not only acts as a stress reliever, it can also protect us from diabetes.
But while wine seemed to have a positive impact, women who drink spirits - including gin - frequently were found to have an increased risk of contracting diabetes. People who have diabetes either don't make enough insulin or don't use it effectively.
"Several factors contribute to it, including family history, ethnic background, age and being overweight".
Questionnaires asked survey respondents to give details about their drinking patterns, whether they're abstainers, lifetime and current to reduce the risk of bias as a result of those who abstain because of health issues.
A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association added: "These reports are consistent with a previous studies that show moderate beer consumption can lower the risk of diabetes". For example, drinking seven or more glasses of wine per week was associated with a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one glass of wine per week.
Adrian Vella of the Mayo Clinic told CBS News that studies that rely on participants' self-reported food and alcohol consumption could be inaccurate, since they may struggle to recall exactly what they ate and drank in the past.