London, Sept 20, 2019 — A meta-analysis study shows that low to moderate daily alcohol consumption may improve the metabolism of patients with diabetes type 2.

Type 2 diabetes is linked in large part to lifestyle. Tobacco use, being overweight, and lack of physical activity are the principal risk factors. Because the concentration of sugars in alcohol can upset the glycemic stability of the blood, diabetes patients are advised to limit their alcohol consumption.

However, a meta-analysis presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held in Barcelona from September 16 to 20, shows that alcohol may actually improve sugar metabolism in patients with type 2. The condition, of course, is not to abuse alcohol.

The study was carried out by researchers from Southeast University in Nanjing, China. Its authors analyzed the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases up until March 2019, scouring clinical studies evaluating the relationship between alcohol consumption and glucose (sugar) consumption and lipids (fats) in adults who have type 2 diabetes.

20g or less of alcohol per day may lower insulin and triglyceride levels

Ten studies involving 575 diabetic adults showed a positive effect of alcohol on the metabolism of sugar and fat. The analysis actually indicated that consuming small to moderate quantities of alcohol diminished triglyceride levels (blood lipids) and insulin in people with type 2 diabetes. Elevated triglyceride levels are an indicator of diabetes.

The researchers established that drinking 20 grams or less of alcohol a day corresponds with “light to moderate” quantities of alcohol. In concrete terms, these portions are equivalent to a can and a half of beer (330 ml, 5% alcohol), a large glass of wine (200 ml, 12% alcohol), or 50 ml of spirits (vodka, gin).

“Findings of this meta-analysis show 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,” stated the authors of the study.