HealthDay News — Among individuals without diabetes, moderate alcohol consumption may decrease fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1c concentrations, according to a review and meta-analysis published in Diabetes Care.

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, wrote Ilse C. Schrieks, MSc, of the Netherlands Organization of Applied Scientific Research in Zeist, and colleagues, noting “this reduced risk might be explained by improved insulin sensitivity or improved glycemic status, but results of intervention studies on this relation are inconsistent.”

To investigate the effect of alcohol consumption insulin sensitivity and glycemic status, the study authors analyzed data from 14 intervention studies.

Compared with the control condition, alcohol consumption did not influence estimated insulin sensitivity (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.08) or fasting glucose (SMD, 0.07), but was correlated with reductions in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (SMD, −0.62) and fasting insulin concentrations (SMD, −0.19).

Among women, but not men, alcohol consumption correlated with reduced fasting insulin (SMD, −0.23) and tended to improve insulin sensitivity (SMD, 0.16). After excluding studies with high alcohol dosages (>40 g/day), results were similar. Dosage and duration of the intervention did not influence results.

“These results may partly explain the lower risk of type 2 diabetes with moderate alcohol consumption found in observational studies,” concluded the researchers.

“However, more intervention studies with a longer intervention period are necessary to confirm the results.”


  1. Schrieks IC et al. Diabetes Care. 2015; doi: 10.2337/dc14-1556


Two of the authors were partially supported by the Dutch Foundation for Alcohol Research, representing Dutch producers of and traders in beer, wine, and spirits.