Light to moderate consumption of alcohol appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 80% among individuals with older-onset diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This is especially important because coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among people with older-onset or type 2 diabetes, accounting for about 40% of all deaths.

The study, from the Medical School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, examined a cohort of diabetics who have been followed since 1980. A total of 983 older-onset diabetic individuals (diabetes diagnosed after age 30) were interviewed about their past-year intake of alcohol beverages (beer, wine, or distilled spirits).

The results indicate that the risk of death from coronary heart disease was significantly lower among older-onset diabetics who consumed alcohol compared to those who had never consumed alcohol.

These findings support the overwhelming and growing body of scientific research indicating that moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease as well as with better health and greater longevity.


  • Valmidrid, C. T., et al. Alcohol intake and the risk of coronary heart disease mortality in persons with older-onset diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999, 282(3), 239-246.

Filed Under: Diabetes