It is well-known that drinking red wine in moderation can have many health benefits. But what about for diabetics? The standard medical advice for people with diabetes has been to steer clear of alcohol, but a surprising new study suggests that it might be alright for diabetics to enjoy an occasional glass of wine.
According to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, drinking wine can result in health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. Study researchers suggest that drinking red wine can improve cardiac health and lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease with no known cure which can pose life-threatening health risks when not properly managed. If left untreated, diabetes can cause strokes, heart disease, kidney failure, and even blindness.
Diabetes results in high levels of glucose in the blood. When we eat carbohydrates and sugar, they are converted into glucose to be used as energy for our cells. The hormone insulin is necessary for this process. When your body either does not produce enough insulin or does not properly use the insulin it produces, glucose remains in the blood at high levels. This damages the blood vessels in your body and organs, leading to serious health complications.
Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes where the body does not produce enough insulin for its needs. Although usually less severe, type 2 diabetes makes up the majority of diabetes cases.
How Do You Know You Are at Risk?
Type 2 diabetes is most common with people who are overweight or obese, although genetics, cholesterol levels, stress, and pregnancy can all be contributing factors.
One of the most common and noticeable symptoms is increased frequency of urination. If you notice that you have to go the washroom frequently, that could be a sign of type 2 diabetes. Dehydration, fatigue, blurred vision, irritability, numbness, tingling, and sudden changes in weight can all be symptoms.
Red Wine’s Health Benefits
While alcohol was once thought to be bad for our health, we now know that it truly depends on the amount and type that you drink. Having red wine in moderation (one to two glasses per day) has been linked to numerous health benefits.
Studies have found that drinking red wine in moderation helps prevent both colon and breast cancer, improves lung function, and has anti-aging benefits for our bodies. Furthermore, red wine is associated with a wide range of cognitive health benefits, including reducing the risk of depression and dementia.
Red wine has also been linked to helping prevent type 2 diabetes. Animal studies have shown that red wine increases insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, until now, it was believed that people who already had diabetes should avoid alcohol.
Can Wine Actually Benefit Diabetics?
According to a recent study, both red and white wine can actually have positive health benefits for people with diabetes. Researchers divided diabetic patients into three groups. Each group had to have a 150 milliliter drink with their dinner each day. One group had red wine, one group had white wine, and one group had distilled water.
After two years, the diabetic patients who drank red or white wine were found to have improved health compared to the patients who didn’t. The patients who drank wine had increased glucose control. Furthermore, drinking red wine in particular improved cardiac health and helped manage cholesterol levels.
This means that patients who drank moderate amounts of wine regularly had a lower risk of heart disease, strokes, and other diabetes-associated conditions. Drinking wine helped manage the symptoms and complications associated with the disease.
While more research will have to be done, this study shows that having a glass of wine with dinner could be a healthy lifestyle choice for people with diabetes.
What Diabetics Need to Know About Wine
That being said, it is important that people with diabetes understand the risks of drinking alcohol and do not have more than a moderate amount.
For people taking medication to lower glucose-levels, alcohol can lower blood sugar to a dangerous level.
Even without medication, drinking alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop. It can also worsen some associated conditions, such as kidney disease.
What this means is that anyone suffering from diabetes has to be smart and safe with their alcohol intake. If you are not taking glucose-lowering medication, a glass of wine with dinner can be a healthy option.
Try a glass with dinner and see how you feel. Make sure that you do not feel weak and monitor your blood sugar levels. Always drink wine with a meal to help prevent blood sugar levels from dropping. As well, never have more than one drink per day. By sticking to one glass of wine per day, you can gain the improved health benefits and avoid the related health risks.
So if you are suffering from diabetes, a nice glass of red wine won’t just taste good—it may also keep you in good health. Enjoy!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Brazier, Y., “Red wine ‘benefits people with type 2 diabetes’,” Medical News Today web site, October 13, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/300854.php.
Cha, A. E., “White wines may be just as good for you as reds (in some ways, at least),” Washington Post, web site, October 13, 2015; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/13/new-thinking-about-health-benefits-of-white-wines-could-they-be-as-good-as-reds-in-some-respects.
Davis, S., “Can You Drink Alcohol if You Have Diabetes?” WebMD web site, http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/can-you-drink-alcohol-if-you-have-diabetes, last accessed October 14, 2015.
“Diabetes symptoms: When diabetes symptoms are a concern,” Mayo Clinic web site, June 25, 2013; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-symptoms/art-20044248.
“Diabetes Symptoms,” American Diabetes Association web site, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms/, last accessed October 14, 2015.