Put down the bottle: binge drinking ups risk for type 2 diabetes

The link between binge drinking and diabetes hasn't always been clear.

After all, a person who binge drinks may also be more likely to binge eat or have unhealthy dietary habits that can lead to the development of diabetes.

But a recent study from researchers at the Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that binge drinking--on its own--may indeed increase a person's risk for high insulin levels and metabolic syndrome.

The study

To test the theory, researchers gave rats the equivalent amount of alcohol that would constitute binge drinking in humans for three consecutive days. A group of control rats were given the same number of calories, without alcohol.

After alcohol could no longer be detected in the bloodstream of the rats, the researchers studied glucose metabolism in both groups. The rodents that had received alcohol had higher concentrations of plasma insulin than the control rats--which indicated that insulin resistance was the cause of these rats' inability to process glucose.

Risk factors

As high insulin levels are a major indicator of metabolic syndrome, the researchers note that, despite dietary changes, binge drinking may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

"Our data show for the first time that binge drinking induces insulin resistance directly and can occur independent of differences in caloric intake," said Claudia Lindtner, MD, study author and an Associate Researcher of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine.

Source: Mt. Sinai Hospital

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