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Can Alcohol Help Prevent Diabetes?

A study published by Danish researchers in the journal Diabetologia suggested that drinking certain types of alcohol could decrease the risk of developing diabetes in both men and women. But there is enough misleading about the study and the reporting that could mean you shouldn’t pick up your drink again.

The Guardian ran a story about the Danish study led by Professor Janne Tolstrump of the University of Southern Denmark. According to The Guardian, “Consuming alcohol three or four days a week was associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes – a 27% reduction in men and a 32% reduction in women – compared with abstaining, scientists found.”

The alcohol that seemed the most beneficial was wine. Though, gin had the opposite effect. In fact, gin increased the risk of diabetes in women by 83 percent according to The Guardian.

The findings were found using a survey. 70,551 men and women took part in the survey involving questions about drinking habits and monitored them for five years. At the end of the study, it was found that 859 men and 887 women developed some types of diabetes. But the study didn’t differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

While the study sounds like an invitation to drink more, there are problems with the study. The MinnPost said the study was perfect for social media headlines but isn’t conclusive. The first problem the site mentioned was the fact it was an observational study. This means there isn’t any scientific proof using the body, just a correlational study.

The next huge problem how the data was collected, according to MinnPost. The participants filled out a questionnaire in 2007-2008. These people were then surveyed for diabetes in 2012. No new survey was taken. This means that there was no new data on the participants. On top of that, people aren’t always accurate when reporting how much they drink.

There are better ways to reduce the chances of diabetes. This isn’t a green light to drink more than recommended. In fact, you probably shouldn’t drink at all. There are plenty of problems that coexist with alcohol. The best way to mitigate the risk of diabetes is solely to maintain a healthy body weight. That means proper diet and exercise.