Norelle Done | HealthGreatness

As of 2012, 9.3 percent of the American population (29.1 million people) had diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. Of those people, most have developed Type II Diabetes – approximately 90 – 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes are Type II. This form of diabetes can be prevented, or risks for development can be lowered in many cases by living healthily through regular exercise and a nutrition-rich diet.

With the additional sugars and calories associated with alcoholic beverages, recent studies have attempted to learn whether excessive consumption of alcohol causes diabetes. One such study found that, “A non-linear relation was seen between alcohol intake and the incidence of type II diabetes. With occasional drinkers as baseline, risk was lowest in light to moderate drinkers and increased in the heavy drinkers … The adverse effect of heavy drinking on risk of diabetes seemed to be partially mediated through its effect on BMI.”

Young people holding cocktails in a pub

Excessive consumption of alcohol and heavy drinking habits can lead to the development of Type II diabetes later in life. Here is how heavy drinking can become a factor in causing diabetes:

  1. By drinking heavily over a long period of time, you reduce your body’s sensitivity to insulin. With a higher resistance to insulin due to heavy drinking, your body will not use glucose effectively and could cause type 2 diabetes to develop.
  2. Alcohol in any form is known to contain a hefty amount of calories, and therefore heavy drinking can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Overweight individuals are more likely to develop type II diabetes. Even if you do not have a family history of diabetes or pre-diabetes (higher than normal glucose levels in the blood), obesity and unhealthy weight are strong risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
  3. Excessive consumption of alcohol is the primary cause of chronic pancreatitis, which can develop the side effect of type II diabetes. The pancreas is what creates insulin and glucagon for the body, as well as enzymes to digest food, and when the pancreas is damaged its ability to make insulin is impaired. This could lead to type 2 diabetes.

To avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and the associated risks of developing type 2 diabetes, try to follow moderate drinking standards for drinking alcohol.