Diabetic wine drinkers can now toast their health, according to a study that shows they have much less chance of dying than non-drinkers with the disease.
The study shows they have a 23 per cent lower risk of dying from all causes, and a 22 per cent lower risk of a heart attack, than diabetic abstainers.
That’s even better than moderate drinkers of other types of alcohol with type 2 diabetes, who have 13 per cent less chance of dying than abstainers and a 17 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular events such as a heart attack.
The study does not prove alcohol lowers the risks, only that those who drink have a lower risk, says senior author Associate Professor Graham Hillis of the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney.
Heavy drinking cancels out any benefits, according to the study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Close to one million Australians have type 2 diabetes, and two-thirds of them are likely to die from heart disease.
‘This study finds no grounds to discourage mild to moderate alcohol consumption, at least in terms of heart-attack risk,’ Prof Hillis said.
However, the potential benefits should be weighed against an increased risk of hypoglycemia, liver-related complications and increased incidence of certain cancers.
The 20-country study, which was led by the George Institute, surveyed 11,140 type 2 diabetes patients aged over 50.
The Australian Diabetes Council supports moderate alcohol consumption of up to two standard drinks a day.
But council dietitian Lamees Kaoutarani cautioned people against interpreting the study as the best strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk.
‘Alcohol is high in kilojoules and can lead to weight gain, high triglyceride levels and increased risks of complications related to diabetes.’