Alcohol has profound effects on tissue and whole-body fuel metabolism which contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality in individuals with alcohol use disorder. This review focuses on the glucose metabolic effects of alcohol, primarily in the muscle, liver and adipose tissue, under basal postabsorptive conditions and in response to insulin stimulation. While there is a relatively extensive literature in this area, results are often discordant and extrapolating between models and tissues is fraught with uncertainty. Comparisons between data generated in experimental cell and animals systems will be contrasted with that obtained from human subjects as often times results differ. Further, the nutritional status is also an important component of the sometimes divergent findings pertaining to the effects of alcohol on the regulation of insulin and glucose metabolism. This work is relevant as the contribution of alcohol intake to the development or exacerbation of type 2 diabetes remains ill-defined and a multi-systems approach is likely needed as both alcohol and diabetes affect multiple targets within the body.
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