I often report that drinking in moderation has many health benefits. In fact, as I reported yesterday, a new study found that drinking red wine benefits your microbiome, the environment in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract where billions of healthy probiotic bacteria thrive.
But remember—I’m not inclined to single out any one type of alcohol or any one ingredient in alcohol, as many large studies show that moderate drinking of any kind has a host of health benefits.
For example, a wealth of evidence suggests that moderate drinking of any kind—not just red wine—protects against heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
And now, a new meta-analysis has found that it also helps control Type II diabetes. But before we dive into that study, let’s back up to consider why most doctors insist people with insulin resistance should never drink alcohol…
Lack of understanding about how the body metabolizes alcohol
Most doctors tell their patients with Type II diabetes to avoid drinking alcohol altogether for fear that the “carbs” will cause spikes in blood sugar.
Now, technically speaking, alcohol is a carbohydrate, consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
But the body doesn’t metabolize it like other carbs.
In fact, most substances in the blood—including glucose—are metabolized by “first-order kinetics,” meaning the higher the concentration, the faster it’s metabolized.
But your liver metabolizes alcohol at a constant rate—known as “zero-order kinetics.” So, no matter how high your blood alcohol, the liver reduces it at a constant rate—equivalent to about one drink per hour.
So, you’ll never experience a sudden spike in sugar in the blood from alcohol. It also means that if you limit yourself to one drink an hour, your blood alcohol concentration will never get too high.
Now—people with Type I diabetes and those with Type II diabetes who take insulin shots should still be cautious of alcohol consumption, as it can lead to dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
But the problem here is the insulin—not the alcohol.
(In fact, in my opinion, we should not treat Type II diabetes, also known as “insulin-resistant” diabetes, with insulin. Instead, you should stick to generic metformin or natural approaches. Plus, more and more research is now linking natural approaches to improved blood sugar.)
So, for people with Type II diabetes who do NOT take insulin, moderate alcohol consumption can be a useful tool in managing blood sugar. And, as I wrote a few years ago, the science even shows that alcohol dilates peripheral blood vessels and helps blood circulation. Which is likely why people with lifelong diabetes swear that moderate alcohol consumption specifically helps with neuropathy.
So, now, let’s get back to that new meta-analysis that looked specifically at the effect of alcohol consumption on people with Type II diabetes…
Alcohol consumption improves markers of disease
For this new meta-analysis of 10 previously published studies, researchers looked at the effect of alcohol consumption on 575 people with Type II diabetes.
It turns out, people with Type II diabetes who consumed light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol had lower concentrations of triglycerides (fats in the blood). They also had lower concentrations of insulin in the blood and reduced insulin resistance, which is are good signs that their blood sugar is better-controlled. Furthermore, this amount of drinking did NOT raise blood sugar levels, as experts so often worry.
The researchers defined light-to-moderate drinking as approximately 20 grams of alcohol per day, which translates to one to two cans or bottles of beer, one to two glasses of wine (7 ounces), or one to two shots of distilled spirits (1.7 ounces). And that amount is in line with what I recommend—as well as with what I’ve heard anecdotally from friends and colleagues who drink moderately at lunch and dinner to improve their Type II diabetes symptoms.
Of course, this study isn’t the first to show alcohol’s positive effects on blood sugar. In fact, a 2005 study found that having a drink or two a day may lower your risk of developing Type II diabetes by as much as 30 percent.
So—forget about the neo-prohibitionist nonsense to avoid any and all alcohol consumption and go ahead and enjoy a cocktail—or two—at night. Especially if you’ve got Type II diabetes and aren’t taking insulin.
Plus—be on the lookout in 2020 for my new report on groundbreaking research showing that “abstinence” is not the answer for the huge majority of “problem drinkers.” Instead, moderation is the right answer, yet again.
And for more uncommonly effective, commonsense strategies to prevent and reverse Type II diabetes, take a look at my Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, simply click here.
“One drink a day may benefit diabetics.” Newsmax, 9/18/19. (newsmax.com/Health/health-news/alcohol-drinking-type-2-moderation/2019/09/18/id/933246/)
“Moderate Alcohol Consumption Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care, 2005; 28(3): 719-725. doi.org/10.2337/diacare.28.3.719