HEADLINES Published October16, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

A Little Wine May be Good for People with Diabetes

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One glass of red wine with dinner may help people with type 2 diabetes control their cholesterol levels.
(Photo : commons.wikimedia.org)

A glass of wine a day may be a good thing for people with Type 2 diabetes, according to an Israeli study. The people with diabetes who drank a glass of red wine with dinner and ate a Mediterranean diet had better high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and decreased total cholesterol levels than those who drank mineral water and ate the same diet. 

Researchers randomly assigned 224 patients one of three groups. Either they drank 5 ounces of mineral water, 5 ounces of white wine, or 5 ounces of red wine with dinner every evening. All the participants did not drink alcohol previously and had type 2 diabetes that was under control. They all ate a Mediterranean diet and did not have to watch calories.

After two years, the participants who drank red wine had increased their HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind) levels by about 10% and significantly decreased their ratio of total cholesterol to HDL compared with the participants assigned to drink water. These changes were not seen in the participants who drank white wine with dinner.

There were two benefits seen with both types of wine, however. Triglycerides decreased significantly in both groups compared with the people who drank water and all the wine drinkers tended to sleep better.

The researchers determined which of the participants were slow metabolizers of ethanol (the alcohol in wine) and which were fast metabolizers. Only the slow metabolizers got a beneficial effect on the blood sugar levels from drinking wine with dinner. No differences were seen in blood pressure, liver function, the effects of diabetes drugs, or weight between the three groups.

No adverse effects were found for drinking one 5-ounce glass of wine with dinner. However, the researchers noted that the participants ate a very healthy diet overall.

The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.  

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