Drinking wine with meals may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, new study suggests

Researchers found drinking a moderate amount of wine with a meal was linked to a 14 per lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Joanna Whitehead
Thursday 03 March 2022 20:00 GMT
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed (Getty Images)

Drinking wine with a meal may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied data from 312,400 patients on the UK biobank database and found that drinking alcohol with meals was associated with a 14 per cent lower risk of developing the disease, compared with eating meals without alcohol.

The associated benefits specifically related to moderate wine consumption, rather than other forms of alcohol, however.

Researchers discovered that drinking more beer or spirits was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Study author Hao Ma, a biostatistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Centre in New Orleans, USA, said: “The effects of alcohol consumption on health have been described as a double-edged sword because of its apparent abilities to cut deeply in either direction - harmful or helpful, depending on how it is consumed.

“Previous studies have focused on how much people drink and have had mixed results.

“Very few studies have focused on other drinking details, such as the timing of alcohol intake.”

He added: “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.”

During an average of nearly 11 years of follow-up, around 8,600 of the adults in the study developed type 2 diabetes.

They did not have diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or cancer when they joined the study.

Robert Eckel, a past president of the American Heart Association, was critical of the findings, however.

He said: “This data suggests that it's not the alcohol with meals but other ingredients in wine, perhaps antioxidants, that may be the factor in potentially reducing new-onset type 2 diabetes.

“While the type of wine, red versus white, needs to be defined, and validation of these findings and mechanisms of benefit are needed, the results suggest that if you are consuming alcohol with meals, wine may be a better choice.”

The study authors acknowledged a number of limitations in their research, including that most of those participating were white adults of European descent who reported their own alcohol intake.

The preliminary research was presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022, and has not been peer-reviewed.

According to NHS guidelines, men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and to spread this drinking over three or more days.

A small glass of wine is equivalent to 1.5 units, while a glass of higher strength lager, contains three units.

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