Drinking a glass of wine with an evening meal could help those with type 2 diabetes improve the management of their blood sugar levels, according to a new long-term health study.
The research also found that sufferers of type 2 diabetes increased their cardiac health and improved their cholesterol levels when they drank a glass of red wine – thanks to the presence of antioxidants such as resveratrol.
The CASCADE (Cardiovascular Diabetes and Ethanol) trial is believed to be one of the first long-term alcohol health studies of its kind and was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
However, previous studies have urged caution in linking resveratrol in wine to specific health benefits. And diabetes support groups in the UK and US advise sufferers to manage their alcohol intake carefully to avoid potential problems.
The new study involved 224 people with type 2 diabetes, splitting them into three groups which consumed 150ml of mineral water, white wine or red wine with their evening meal every night for two years. Participants followed a Mediterranean diet without calorie restrictions.
While red wine appeared to slightly improve heart health and suppress bad cholesterol, both red and white wine appeared to help to improve sugar control among those who metabolise alcohol slowly (roughly 80% of those studied).
Those who drank wine also recorded a significant improvement in sleep quality, compared to those who consumed only mineral water.
‘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,’ said Prof Iris Shai, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
‘The differential genetic effects that were found may assist in identifying diabetic patients in whom moderate wine consumption may induce greater clinical benefit.’