That led scientists to conclude "consumption of alcohol on three to four days weekly was associated with significantly lower [diabetes] risk in men and women" compared to those who drink one or fewer days a week.
Wine was shown to be potentially beneficial to some degree, and a number of prior studies linking periodic red wine consumption to improved blood glucose control. For women, consuming at least seven drinks over 3 to 4 days was associated with a lower risk for diabetes when compared with abstainers (HR = 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55-0.95).
The team also looked at how often the participants engaged in binge drinking, and collected information on which alcoholic beverages were consumed and how much each week.
Responding to these findings, Dr Emily Burns, the head of research communications at Diabetes UK, told The Guardian that "while these findings are interesting, we wouldn't recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS guidelines, especially as the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of type 2 will be different from one person to the next".
Women didn't benefit at all from drinking beer, but men who drank one to six beers a week had a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes, the investigators found.
After monitoring, 859 men and 887 women had developed diabetes.
"In principle we can only say something about the five-year risk from this study", said Tolstrup in an email.
"Binge drinkers can also develop unpleasant short-term effects, such as sweating, shaking, bad skin, diarrhoea, blackouts and problems sleeping".
Tamler also points out that the study focused on people developing a new diagnosis of diabetes.
For both genders, drinking seven or more glasses of wine per week lowered the overall risk of diabetes by 25% t0 30% compared to those who just had one drink of wine per week. However, there was no effect on women's risk.
Prof Tolstrup reiterated that alcohol is connected with several other serious disease conditions so this study is not a "go ahead" for consumption of excessive alcohol.
Questionnaires asked survey respondents to give details about their drinking patterns, whether they're abstainers, lifetime and current to reduce the risk of bias as a result of those who abstain because of health issues. Among people with diabetes, excessive drinking increases the risk of high blood sugar and weight gain, he said. But, women who had 7 or more drinks of spirits per week had an 83 percent increased risk of diabetes compared to women who consumed less than 1 drink of spirits per week.