Effects of ethanol ingestion on glucose tolerance and insulin secretion in normal and diabetic subjects

Metabolism. 1975 May;24(5):625-32. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(75)90142-0.


To investigate the effect of ethanol on carbohydrate homeostasis in circumstances in which food and ethanol are usually ingested, ethanol was administered hourly in the afternoon prior to the ingestion of a glucose load at 5:00 p.m. in a group of normal subjects and in mild diabetics. In both groups the blood glucose levels following the glucose load were 30-80 mg/100 ml lower and the early insulin secretory response (15-45 min) was 35 percent-40 percent higher after ethanol ingestion. In contrast, ethanol intake had no effect on the glucagon response to glucose ingestion; These data suggest that ethanol enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. The dampened blood glucose rise observed with ethanol may be related to the augmented insulin response or to decreased gastrointestinal absorption of glucose. In mild diabetic patients, moderate intake of ethanol is without acute deleterious effects on carbohydrate homeostasis and may in some instances improve the blood glucose response to ingested carbohydrate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Glucagon / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin
  • Ethanol
  • Glucagon
  • Glucose