Studies Find Drinking Alcohol Can Have Health Benefits

We absolutely love science this week thanks to two studies confirming a few bevvies can actually boost your health. Say what?

The first study in Diabetologia found “that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account.”

The study looked at both volume and frequency of drinking in a group of 70,551 Danish citizens. Researchers found that women who consumed nine drinks per week had a 58% lower risk of diabetes compared with women who did not drink at all. In terms of how frequently they drank, the study revealed that those who had a bevvie 3-4 days a week had the lowest risk of diabetes – a 32% lower risk in women – compared to those who drank less than one day per week.

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It also appears the type of bevvie makes a difference – moderate to high intake of wine was linked with a lower risk of diabetes – perhaps due to the much discussed polyphenols in wine, particularly in red. Men and women who consumed 7 or more drinks of wine per week had a 25-30% lower risk of diabetes compared with those having less than 1 drink of wine per week.

Beer drinker? Consuming between 1 and 6 beers per week gave a 21% lower risk of diabetes in men compared with men who drank less than 1 beer per week, but beer was not associated with diabetes risk in women. However, if you love a gin and tonic – watch out. Women who drank seven or more drinks of spirits per week had an 83% increased risked of diabetes compared to women who had less than one. Cocktail hour, be gone!

The second study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that older adults who consume alcohol moderately and on a regular basis are more likely to live to the age of 85 without dementia or other cognitive impairments than non-drinkers. FYI: moderate drinking involves consuming up to one alcoholic beverage a day for adult women of any age.

“This study is unique because we considered men and women’s cognitive health at late age and found that alcohol consumption is not only associated with reduced mortality, but with greater chances of remaining cognitively healthy into older age,” said senior author Dr Linda McEvoy.

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However, the authors are quick to point out that it’s not an open invite to an open bar. “This study shows that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain cognitive fitness in aging,” said lead author Erin Richard. “However, it is not a recommendation for everyone to drink. Some people have health problems that are made worse by alcohol, and others cannot limit their drinking to only a glass or two per day. For these people, drinking can have negative consequences.”

Indeed, be sensible – previous studies have found drinking alcohol can boost your risk for a number of other diseases, including cancer, so it’s best not to go overboard. And certainly don’t be taking it up to slash your risk. But hey, it is a good way to justify that after work Shiraz, anyway. 

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