Alcohol drinking frequency is associated with a risk of diabetes, with consumption on 3 to 4 days per week associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetologia.

Charlotte Holst, PhD, from the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to examine the association between alcohol drinking patterns and diabetes risk in men and women from the general Danish population. The authors used data from the Danish Health Examination Survey from 2007 to 2008.  Of the 76,484 survey participants, 28,704 men and 41,847 women were eligible for this study and were followed for a median of 4.9 years.

Self-reported questionnaires were used to obtain information on alcohol drinking patterns, such as frequency of alcohol consumption, frequency of binge drinking, and consumption of wine, beer, and spirits. The authors then averaged beverage-specific and overall weekly alcohol intake. Information on incident cases of diabetes was obtained from the Danish National Diabetes Register.

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During follow-up, a total of 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. The lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks per week in men (hazard ratio [HR], 0.57) and at 9 drinks per week in women (HR, 0.42). Compared with current alcohol drinkers consuming less than 1 day per week, consumption of alcohol 3 to 4 days weekly was associated with a significantly lower risk for diabetes in men (HR, 0.73) and women (HR, 0.68).

“Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account,” concluded the authors.


  1. Holst C, Becker U, Jørgensen ME, et al.  Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70,551 men and women from the general Danish population.  Diabetologia. 27 July 2017.  doi: 10.1007/s00125-017-4359-3