New research reveals a connection between diabetes and drinking alcohol. If you like to have a few drinks now and then, be sure to read this first.

How Does Drinking Affect Diabetes?

Alcohol increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Typically, it happens like this:

  1. Regularly consuming too much alcohol (2+ drinks a day) can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis
  2. An inflamed pancreas can then lead to impaired ability to secrete insulin
  3. The inability to secrete insulin can then lead to diabetes
  4. Alcohol also affects an area of the brain that regulates insulin production, putting you at an even higher risk

Man with two beers

More Connections Between Diabetes & Drinking Alcohol

  • Alcohol is largely sugar and empty calories, which is responsible for the onset of obesity (another risk for diabetes)
  • The new research study was conducted on rats. Some were given alcohol and others were given sugars. The rats that were given alcohol had higher concentrations of plasma insulin, an indicator of metabolic syndrome (which increases your risk for diabetes)
  • It’s not liver damage– it’s brain damage. The study says, “Damage to the liver doesn’t seem to be the mechanism that makes you become insulin resistant . . . It seems to be primarily because [binge drinking] damages the brain.”

Man pouring drink


So before you reach for your next drink, take what you’ve learned in this blog post into consideration. While a couple drinks now and then isn’t too dangerous for most people, habitually drinking does increase your risk for diabetes and other health problems. Ask yourself if those few drinks a day are worth risking a healthier life in the future.

– If you are also considering limiting your caffeine intake, check out this blog post next.
– If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, read this blog post.

Disclaimer: Any information provided is not medical advice and Iowa Diabetes is not responsible for any information from third parties.