Wine May Help Manage Diabetes
October 14, 2015
Multiple major news outlets recently reported on the latest BGU research that indicates a glass of red wine with dinner may improve the cardiovascular health of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, and both red and white wine may help them control blood sugar. The study was led by Prof. Iris Shai, of BGU’s Department of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Prof. Iris Shai and her team randomly assigned 224 patients, all alcohol abstainers with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, to drink five ounces of either mineral water, white wine or red wine with dinner. All followed a Mediterranean diet without calorie restrictions.
After two years, compared with the water drinkers, those who drank red wine had increased their HDL (or “good”) cholesterol by about 10 percent, and significantly decreased their ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. These positive changes did not happen in white wine drinkers.
“The differences found between red and white wine were opposed to our original hypothesis that the beneficial effects of red wine are mediated predominantly by the alcohol,” says Prof. Shai.
“Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles,” she adds.
Compared with study participants who drank mineral water nightly and those who had a glass of white wine, diabetics who drank a glass of red wine nightly also had fewer symptoms of metabolic syndrome (hypertension, excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels) at the end of two years.
The superiority of red wine over white wine in improving diabetes patients’ health suggests that alcohol is not the only thing at work in these cases. While red and white wine contain roughly similar levels of alcohol per serving, red wine contains seven times more plant-based phenolic compounds than white wine.
White wine did, however, improve blood sugar levels in diabetics who metabolize alcohol slowly.
Wine of either type did not affect change in blood pressure, liver function tests, adiposity, or cause adverse events/symptoms. However, sleep quality was significantly improved in both wine groups, compared with the water control group.