Red Wine Can Help Type 2 Diabetics Manage Cholesterol Levels

by Barbara Hewitt on May 11, 2015

People with type 2 diabetes are often advised what not to eat and drink but now it seems that a glass of red wine every night may help manage cholesterol and offer protection against heart disease.

In a study of more than 220 people with type 2 diabetes who are a standard Mediterranean diet, those who were also allowed one 150ml glass of red with dinner ended up with higher levels of so-called ‘good cholesterol’ than those who drank white wine or mineral water.

red wineResearchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel who worked on the two year study also found that those who drank wine and were genetically predisposed to metabolise alcohol well also had better blood sugar control.

They said that genetic profiling could be used to identify people with type 2 diabetes who would most benefit from moderate red wine drinking. They also stressed that the benefit relates to people who have their blood sugar levels under control.

‘This first long term large scale alcohol trial suggests that initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well controlled type 2 diabetes patients, and as part of healthy diet, is apparently safe and decreases cardio metabolic risk,’ said lead author Professor Iris Shai.

‘While the genetic interaction supports specific causal roles for alcohol, the red wine’s superiority suggests that non-alcoholic constituents of red wine could be having a positive impact,’ he added.

However, Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said that not everyone should rush out and start drinking red wine as the benefits are far from clear-cut.

He pointed out that alcohol intake is well known to increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations. ‘There is a lack of evidence to show that increasing HDL concentration translates into reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or other disease outcomes,’ he added.

He also pointed out that those taking part in this study drank a 150 ml glass of wine daily, equivalent to 21 units of alcohol per week when in the UK the upper recommended limits are 21 and 14 units per week for men and women respectively.

‘While intakes at this level may not be harmful, higher intakes certainly increase blood pressure and risk of all-cause mortality, and even low intakes increase risk of cancer especially of the liver and upper digestive tract. In my experience any health claims made for red wine need to be regarded with a jaundiced eye,’ he added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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