If you’re diabetic and are doing well maintaining your condition with diet and exercise, you can evidently reward yourself with a glass of wine and not fear your doctor’s wrath at the next checkup.
You probably have heard about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil while also being largely devoid of processed foods. There’s evidence that suggests such a diet can help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The diet also usually incorporates moderate amounts of wine at meals. For the nearly 10 percent of Americans with diabetes that’s good news.
Glass of Wine a Day Keeps Insulin Resistance Away?
The results of a small yet significant study, first appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that people with type 2 diabetes who adhered to the Mediterranean diet were better off if they included wine with their dinner.
The research subjects, part of the CASCADE study, were adults over the age of 40 with “well-controlled” type 2 diabetes. Of the 224 people in the study, some were assigned different beverages for their nightly dinner, either mineral water, white wine, or red wine.
After two years the red wine drinkers had improved lipid levels, including high-density lipid levels (the “good” cholesterol) and decreased total cholesterol. These two markers are used to address overall heart health.
White wine drinkers were associated with significant decreases in fasting plasma glucose levels.
There was no real difference between the water and wine drinkers in terms of blood pressure, adiposity, liver function, drug therapy, symptoms, or quality of life. Those who drank wine did report improved sleep quality.
Wining and dining on a Mediterranean diet, however, was affected by genetics. Those who processed alcohol slower had better control over how their body processes sugars.
“The findings suggest the effects of wine on glucose metabolism may be mediated mainly by alcohol, whereas red wine’s beneficial effects may also involve nonalcoholic constituents,” the researchers concluded.
Research Backs Up Positive Effects of Red Wine
The health benefits of red wine are well-documented.
A 2008 study of 18 people with type 2 diabetes who were not treating their condition with insulin found that consuming one or two glasses of wine daily had no effect on plasma glucose or serum insulin, but it did have cardiovascular benefits.
“People with type 2 diabetes mellitus should not be discouraged from using alcohol in moderation,” the study included.
A study 10 years ago found that while adults with diabetes reported drinking half the amount of non-diabetics, those who had more than 30 drinks a month had better control over their diabetes as measured by glycosylated hemoglobin levels.
“Alcohol consumption, at least in moderate amounts, correlates with better glucose control,” that study concluded as well.
That same study also found adults with diabetes reported drinking three times as much diet soda as adults without diabetes, so there’s room for improvement.
But before you head down to the corner store to pick up a bottle, talk with your doctor.
Not everyone is the same, and not every diabetic benefits from supplementing their dinner with alcohol.