When you have diabetes mellitus type 2 there is no need to avoid moderate alcohol consumption. That is the main conclusion of a new review paper published in the scientific journal Diabetes Medicine.
When your blood glucose level is too high (hyperglycaemia) or very low (hypoglycaemia) it can negatively affect your health on the short- and long-term. People with diabetes are constantly aware of this. If you have diabetes, drinking moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages is said to be no problem, but on the other hand alcohol is said to cause hypos. Because of this confusing message, scientists from Oxford University summarized all scientific evidence on alcohol and hypos in a review paper.
Blood sugar level
The researchers studied the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on blood sugar levels on the short (2 to 24 hours) and medium-term (4 to 104 days). There was no difference in the level of blood glucose after drinking alcoholic beverages or non-alcoholic beverages after 2, 4 and 24 hours and after longer periods for people with type 2 diabetes. They also did not experience hypos more often than abstainers with type 2 diabetes. Whether the previous conclusions also applies to people with diabetes type 1 has yet to be determined.
This is the first meta-analysis on the effect of alcohol on glycaemic control in people with diabetes type 2. The researchers based their conclusions upon a meta-analysis of 13 intervention studies. Unfortunately, the long-term effects and the effects of alcohol on glycaemic control in people with diabetes type 1 are not researched extensively yet. More intervention studies are therefore needed.
Hirst J.A. et al. (2016). Short- and medium-term effects of light to moderate alcohol intake on glycaemic control in diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Diabet. Med. Article in press.