Alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes in adults: results from the Nord-Trøndelag health study

Diabet Med. 2013 Jan;30(1):56-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03713.x.


Aims: We investigated the influence of different aspects of alcohol consumption on the risk of Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes in adults.

Methods: We used data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey (HUNT) study, in which all adults aged ≥ 20 years from Nord-Trondelag County were invited to participate in three surveys in 1984-1986, 1995-1997 and 2006-2008. Patients with diabetes were identified using self-reports, and participants with onset age ≥ 35 years were classified as having Type 2 diabetes if they were negative for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (n = 1841) and as having autoimmune diabetes if they were positive for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (n = 140). Hazard ratios of amount and frequency of alcohol use, alcoholic beverage choice, and binge drinking and alcohol use disorders were estimated.

Results: Moderate alcohol consumption (adjusted for confounders) was associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes in men, but not in women (hazard ratio for men 10-15 g/day 0.48, 95% CI 0.28-0.77; hazard ratio for women ≥ 10 g/day 0.81, 95% CI 0.33-1.96). The reduced risk was primarily linked to consumption of wine [hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.99 (per g/day)]. No increased risk was seen in participants reporting binge drinking or in problem drinkers. The results were also compatible with a reduced risk of autoimmune diabetes associated with alcohol consumption [hazard ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.45-1.08 (frequent consumption) and hazard ratio 0.36, 95% CI 0.13-0.97 (2-7 g/day)].

Conclusions: Moderate alcohol consumption associates with reduced risk of both Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes. A protective effect of alcohol intake may be limited to men. High alcohol consumption does not seem to carry an increased risk of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors