Light alcohol drinking may benefit people with type 2 diabetes

In a new study, researchers found low-to-moderate alcohol drinking could have a positive effect on blood glucose and fat metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes.

The suggest recommendations to moderate alcohol consumption for people with type 2 diabetes may need to be reviewed.

The research was conducted by a team from Southeast University and elsewhere.

Currently, advice from various diabetes organizations including Diabetes UK remains that people with diabetes need to be careful with alcohol drinking.

This is because alcohol drinking can make people more likely to have a hypoglyaemic episode (known as a hypo) because alcohol makes blood sugars drop.

It can also cause weight gain and other health issues.

In the study, the team assessed the link between alcohol consumption and glucose and lipid metabolism among adults with type 2 diabetes.

They did a research review that included 10 studies involving 575 participants.

Results showed that alcohol drinking was linked to reduced triglyceride levels and insulin levels, but had no strong effect on fasting blood glucose levels, HbA1c or total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol.

Future analyses showed that drinking light to moderate amounts of alcohol decreased the levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and insulin in people with type 2 diabetes.

Light to moderate drinking was defined by the authors as 20g or less of alcohol per day.

This translates to approximately 1.5 cans of beer (330ml, 5% alcohol), a large (200ml) glass of wine (12% alcohol) or a 50ml serving of 40% alcohol spirt (for example vodka/gin).

The team says there is a positive effect of alcohol on glucose and fat metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes.

Larger studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of alcohol consumption on blood sugar management, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

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