Red wine has always been considered heart-healthy. If consumed moderately, it can also contribute to healthier teeth, act as an anti-aging agent, and even help you lose weight, according to multiple studies. But now, a comprehensive, two-year trial confirms that a glass of wine every night may help people with type 2 diabetes lower their cholesterol and improve their cardiac health.
According to new findings from a study led by researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, both red and white wine can improve sugar control. The researchers aimed to assess the effects and safety of initiating moderate alcohol consumption in diabetics, and sought to determine whether the type of wine matters.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular diseases than the general population and have lower levels of good cholesterol. Despite the enormous contribution of observational studies, clinical recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption remain controversial, particularly for people with diabetes, due to lack of long-term, randomized controlled trials, which are the “holy grail” of evidence-based medicine. That why BGU embarked on a two-year trial.
“Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile, by increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 (one of the major constituents of HDL cholesterol), while decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol,” the researchers said in a statement. Simply put, drinking wine is good for patients with type 2 diabetes, who need to watch their cholesterol levels.
The researchers concluded that “initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics as part of a healthy diet is apparently safe, and modestly decreases cardio-metabolic risk. The differential genetic effects that were found may assist in identifying diabetic patients in whom moderate wine consumption may induce greater clinical benefit.” They further noted that sleep quality was significantly improved after patients started to moderately consume wine.
This long-term trial was performed on 224 diabetes patients (aged 45 to 75), who generally abstained from alcohol. The results of this long-term alcohol study – the first of its kind, according to BGU – were recently published in the prestigious internal medicine journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The trial was performed by BGU’s Prof. Iris Shai, in collaboration with Prof. Meir Stampfer from Harvard University, and colleagues from University of Leipzig, Germany and Karolinska Institute, Sweden.