What are the effects of drinking alcohol on insulin resistance (or metabolic syndrome)? Insulin resistance is when cells don’t respond properly to insulin. Thus, they can’t use the glucose (sugar) in blood for energy. As a result, the body makes more insulin. So blood sugar levels increase. This becomes a vicious cycle. Sugar that your cells don’t use forms fat. And fat promotes insulin resistance.
The results tend to be obesity, high blood pressure, development of type 2 diabetes, and high “bad” cholesterol. Thus, any of these may be symptoms of the disease. Importantly, as many as a one in three people in the U.S. suffers from insulin resistance. Therefore, it’s a serious and major health problem.
- Risk Factors
Researchers studied the effects of drinking alcohol on insulin resistance. To do so, their study included 280,194 people without diabetes. All were given health exams three or more times within a period of eight years. Their mean age was 38.2 years and 55.7% were male.
The researchers concluded that alcohol drinking improves insulin resistance. Also, that increased drinking amounts may have preventive effects on the progression of insulin resistance.
II. Risk Factors
Things that increase chances (risk factors) for metabolic syndrome include these.
- A diet high in carbs.
- Having a fat belly.
- Not getting enough exercise.
- A family history of diabetes.
- Older age.
- Having hormonal disorders.
- Taking steroids, antipsychotics, or HIV meds.
- Having high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
- Having either nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Sleep apnea and other sleep problems.
- Being African American, Latino, or Native American.
III. Resources: Effects of Alcohol on Insulin Resistance
- Oh, B. et al. Alcohol consumption and insulin resistance. Nutr Metab Card Dis, 10, 2842-50.
- Feldman, M. & Dalyai, J. The Everything Guide to the Insulin Resistance Diet. NY: Adams.
- Challem, J. et al. Syndrome X. The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance. Old Saybrook, CT: Tandor.
- Hayes, C. The “I Hate to Exercise” Book for People with Diabetes. Alexandria, VA: Am Diab Assn.
- Insulin Resistance. Childhood Precursors of Adult Disease. NY: Cham Springer.
- Kumar, A. Effect of 12 weeks structured exercise training on insulin resistance. Berlin: Morressier.
- Manson, C. Insulin Resistance Diet Plan. La Vergne, TN: Tilkan.
- Williamson, M. Blood Sugar Blues. NY: Walker.