Moderate red wine consumption benefits patients with type 2 diabetes

Patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes may improve their metabolic profile by drinking one glass of red wine per day, according to research presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague.

In a long-term, randomized controlled trial in Israel, researchers found that moderate red wine intake — when combined with a healthy diet — is safe and may even decrease cardiometabolic risk.

“Patients with diabetes who drink wine in moderation can continue to do so, with the knowledge that it is safe and likely beneficial,” Meir Stampfer, MD, PhD, MPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, told Endocrine Today. “Those who do not drink, but would like to drink in moderation and have no contraindications, could consider moderate wine consumption, with advice of their doctor.”

Meir Stampfer

Meir Stampfer

Iris Shai, MD, PhD, of Ben-Gurion University in Negev, Israel, and colleagues from other institutions analyzed data from the CASCADE trial, a 2-year study of 224 patients with diabetes who had been abstaining from alcohol.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups to drink either mineral water, white wine or red wine (150 mL serving) with dinner each night for 2 years. All groups followed a non-calorie-restricted Mediterranean diet and participated in group sessions with clinical dietitians. Researchers monitored diet and alcohol intake with validated dietary assessment tools.

Participants who drank red wine increased HDL and apolipoprotein A-I while decreasing the ratios for total cholesterol/HDL, triglycerides/HDL and ApoB-100/ApoA-I (P < .05 for all; vs. mineral water).

Genetic testing revealed that approximately one in five participants were fast alcohol metabolizers; slow alcohol metabolizers who drank wine were found to have better blood glucose control than those who metabolized it quickly.

The results suggest that nonalcoholic components of red wine have an added beneficial effect over white wine. In addition, the effect on glucose levels in participants with a slower alcohol metabolism supports a causal role of alcohol on blood glucose control, according to researchers.

“We showed that moderate alcohol [use] is safe and modestly beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes,” Stampfer said. “Unless there are other contraindications, there is no reason to discourage patients with diabetes from moderate alcohol consumption.

“Larger and longer trials, with clinical outcomes, would likely be very informative,” Stampfer said. – by Regina Schaffer


Shai I, et al. What is the effect of wine intake in type 2 diabetes and does the wine color matter? Presented at: European Congress on Obesity; May 6-9, 2015; Prague.

Disclosure: Stampfer and Shai report no relevant financial disclosures.

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