Wine May Benefit Those With Type 2 Diabetes: New Data

If you want to persuade your physician that sensible wine consumption is likely good for glucose control and heart health, researchers have made your argument easier.

Scientists at Ben-Gurion University in Israel knew that, among moderate drinkers, type 2 diabetes is less common. Since earlier studies showed that ethanol (alcohol) is likely the reason, they wondered if both white and red wine might improve glucose control and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The researchers hypothesized that moderate drinking of white or red wine would provide similar effects since both contain ethanol, and that outcome variations would be owed to genetic and alcohol metabolism differences.

A two-year study was devised to test the hypothesis.

Recruits and Setup

The 224 recruited participants were men and women with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, ages 40 to 75 who generally abstained from alcohol.

Participants were randomly assigned to drink 150 ml of mineral water, white wine, or red wine with their dinner. Each followed Mediterranean diet guidelines without calorie restrictions. Questionnaires were administered, and blood samples were taken at regular intervals.

Stats were kept on participant triglyceride levels, waist circumference, blood pressure, medication use, genetic interaction, liver function, and quality-of-life factors.

After Two Years

The research analysis suggests “that initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics as part of a healthy diet is apparently safe and modestly decreases cardiometabolic risk.”

Specifically, the researcher’s found:

  • Blood pressure, body fat, drug therapy, liver function, symptoms, or quality of life issues showed no significant differences between the water, white, or red wine groups. The one exception was sleep quality; it improved with red and white wine consumption.
  • The participants who drank wine had decreased cardio-metabolic risks when compared to the mineral water group.
  • Alcohol consumption appeared to aid blood sugar control, but red wine had a more pronounced effect on lipid (fat) levels and overall variables related to metabolic syndrome.*
  • The glycemic control boost from drinking wine was affected by the participant’s genetic differences.

The researchers were surprised that red wine had more pronounced effects than white wine on cardio-metabolic function. It suggests non-alcoholic factors are at play - such as the higher concentration of phenols in red wine - and requires further investigation.

Individual Considerations

Although the long-term design of this study strengthens the credibility of its results, one study never provides definitive answers.

So, before debating wine consumption with your physician, know that the researchers recommend caution. They suggest the benefits of wine drinking should be weighed against an individual’s complete medical history and all potential risk factors.

Source: Medical News Today; Annals of Internal Medicine
Photo credit: Ken Hawkins

*Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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