Drinking for over three to four days every week may reduce the risk of developing diabetes, a study has claimed.
Previous studies have consistently suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of diabetes compared with abstention in men and women, whilst heavy consumption is associated with a risk greater than or equal to that of abstainers.
However previous studies examining the role of drinking patterns in relation to diabetes risk have given inconsistent findings, and studies on the effects of particular types of beverage are likewise inconclusive.
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark examined the effects of drinking frequency on diabetes risk, and also considered association with specific beverage types.
They used data from about 70,551 Danish citizens aged 18 and over completed a self-reporting questionnaire including items on lifestyle and health.
Follow up information, continued until 2012 also was gathered. During follow up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes.
Scientists found that people consuming moderate amounts of alcohol were at the lowest risk of developing diabetes.
Men consuming 14 drinks per week were found to have a 43 per cent lower risk of diabetes relative to no alcohol intake, and women consuming nine drinks per week had a 58 per cent lower risk compared with women who did not drink at all.
In terms of frequency, the data revealed that consumption of alcohol 3-4 days a week gave the lowest risk of diabetes - a 27 per cent lower risk in men and a 32 per cent lower risk in women - when compared to individuals drinking less than one day per week.
Regarding beverage type, moderate to high intake of wine was associated with a lower risk of diabetes, in line with previous studies.
Researchers suggest that this might be due to a beneficial effect that polyphenols in wine have on management of blood sugar, giving red wine in particular a potential protective impact.
Men and women who consumed seven or more drinks of wine per week had a 25-30 per cent lower risk of diabetes compared with those having less than 1 drink of wine per week.
Consuming between one and six beers per week gave a 21 per cent lower risk of diabetes in men compared with men drinking less than one beer per week, while beer was not associated with diabetes risk in women.
"Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with the risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 weekdays is associated with the lowest risks of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account," researchers said.