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Is Moderate Wine Consumption in Type 2 Diabetes Beneficial?

Moderation is key when it comes to diabetes and alcoholic beverages…. 

In prior studies, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to healthier cardiovascular outcomes. When it comes to moderate alcohol consumption and diabetes the potential health benefits, if any, are not as clear.

In a recent study, using self-report surveys, researchers classified participants as nil, moderate or heavy alcohol consumers. They defined these alcohol consumption categories as follows: ‘nil’ as no alcohol consumption; ‘moderate’ as ≤ 21 drinks per week for men or ≤ 14 alcoholic drinks per week for women; and ‘heavy’ >21 drinks per week for men or >14 drinks per week for women.

Using Cox regression models, researchers assessed 3 major end points in a total of 11,140 patients: cardiovascular events, microvascular complications and all-cause mortality. These participants were later assessed over a median 5 year follow-up period.

Study participants who were categorized as moderate alcohol consumers had fewer cardiovascular events, microvascular complications and a lower all-cause mortality compared with participants who did not consume alcoholic beverages: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.83; 95% CI 0.72 to 0.95 p=0.008, aHR 0.85; 95% CI 0.73 to 0.99; p= 0.03; and aHR 0.87; 96% CI 0.75 to 1.00; p = 0.05, respectively. The authors note that these benefits were significantly more apparent in participants who consumed wine as the source of their alcohol consumption (cardiovascular event aHR 0.78, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.95, p = 0.01; all-cause mortality aHR 0.77, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.95, p = 0.02). Further, study participants classified as heavy alcohol consumers experienced dose-dependent, increased risk for both cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality.

The results of this study are comparable to what has previously been determined about alcohol consumption – moderation is the key.

Practice Pearls:

  • In this study, moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages was associated with better cardiovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetic patients when compared to diabetics who did not consume alcoholic beverages
  • Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with a dose-dependent, increased risk of negative cardiovascular outcomes

Blomster JI, Zoungas S, Chalmers J, Li Q, Chow CK, Woodward M, Mancia G, et al. The relationship between alcohol consumption and vascular complications and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2014 Feb 27.