A new study suggested that people who consume moderate alcohol daily have lower levels of triglycerides, which is a type of blood fat but alcohol consumption did not help lower blood sugar levels in those who already suffered from type 2 diabetes.
Lead author Yuling Chen from Southeast University in Nanjing, China, said the study that examined 575 volunteers showed a lower level of insulin and improved insulin resistance in people who drank light -- about 20 grams -- to moderate amounts of alcohol but cautioned that high alcohol consumption could be a risk factor for diabetes.
"A little alcohol can be good for you, and that's no different in patients with type 2 diabetes," said Dr Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, adding that people with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 dependent on insulin or other medications that can lower blood sugar levels must be more cautious with alcohol.
"It can sometimes lead to hypoglycemia -- dangerously low levels of blood sugar," he said.
Zonszein, sharing Chen's concern about excessive consumption, said too much alcohol can raise triglycerides and lead to a serious health concern, including pancreatitis -- inflammation in the pancreas, and increased risk of heart disease.
The findings of the study presented at European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain, were based on a number of factors associated with diabetes, including blood sugar levels, insulin levels, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
According to the American Diabetes Association, daily alcohol consumption is limited to no more than one drink for adult women and no more than two drinks for adult men.
The researchers suggested a moderate amount of alcohol is about 1.5 cans of beer (330ml), a 200ml glass of wine or a 50ml serving of a 40 percent spirit such as vodka or gin.