It was already known that alcohol decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. For the first time researchers investigated the effect of specific beverages on type 2 diabetes risk. Wine decreases the risk significantly, but it seems that also beer and spirits have beneficial effects. The meta-analysis is published in the scientific journal Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

The Chinese scientists1 analysed the relationship between beer, wine and spirit consumption on type 2 diabetes risk in 13 prospective studies. The relationship between the all the three beverages and the diabetes risk is U-shaped: whilst moderate consumption (20-30 g/day for beer/wine, 7-15 g/day for spirits) lowered the risk, excessive beer (>30 g/day), wine (>80 g/day) and spirit (>15 g/day) consumption increased the risk. The only association that was found statistically significant was that of wine consumption. Beer and spirits were associated with a non-significant trend of decreased risk.

In perspective
It was already known that alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes 3-4 and that specific beverages can have a different effect on cardiovascular diseases5. However, this is the first study that systematically assessed the effects of specific alcoholic beverages on type 2 diabetes risk.

It is unclear why only the relationship between wine and diabetes risk is statistically significant. According to the researchers, the resveratrol content in wine might explain this finding. Animals studies2 show that resveratrol is important for the glucose regulation of the blood. Thereby, resveratrol is an anti-oxidant and therefore able to neutralize oxidative stress caused by the ingestion of foods. Another possible explanation may be that wine drinkers belong mostly to a higher social-economical class compared to beer and spirit drinkers. A higher social-economical class is also associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk6-7.


  1. Huang, X. Wang, Y. Zhang, Specific types of alcoholic beverage consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Diabetes Investigation, 2017, 8(1), p56-68
  2. Cote CD, Rasmussen BA, Duca FA, et al. Resveratrol activates duodenal Sirt1 to reverse insulin resistance in rats through a neuronal network. Nat Med 2015; 21: 498–505
  3. Carlsson S, Hammar N, Grill V. Alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes Meta-analysis of epidemiological studies indicates a U-shaped relationship, Diabetologia 2005; 48: 1051–1054.
  4. Koppes LL, Dekker JM, Hendriks HF, et al. Moderate alcohol consumption lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. Diabetes Care 2005; 28: 719–725
  5. Smyth A, Teo KK, Rangarajan S, et al. Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, cancer, injury, admission to hospital, and mortality: a prospective cohort study. Lancet 2015; 386: 1945–1954
  6. Demakakos P, Marmot M, Steptoe A. Socioeconomic position and the incidence of type 2 diabetes: the ELSA study. Eur J Epidemiol 2012; 27: 367–378
  7. Agardh E, Allebeck P, Hallqvist J, et al. Type 2 diabetes incidence and socio-economic position: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Epi demiol 2011; 40: 804–818.

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