A new study, led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, showed that red wine has beneficial effects in type-2 diabetes patients’ cholesterol management and cardiovascular health. The study, entitled “Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes,” was recently published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The subject of alcohol’s beneficial effects and its clinical recommendation has been controversial in the scientific community, especially for diabetic patients. With this in mind, researchers conducted a first long-term alcohol study (2 years), called CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes and Ethanol (CASCADE), to assess the effects of wine on type-2 diabetes patients’ health, and also the health effects depending on the type of wine consumed. The randomized trial included 224 controlled diabetic patients (45 to 75 years of age), who consumed alcohol along with a healthy Mediterranean diet. Patients were randomly divided into 3 groups (red wine, white wine and mineral water) and had the same amount of beverage along with dinner for two years. In the duration of the trial, patients underwent a series of medical exams aimed at monitoring glucose blood levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and evaluation of deposit of fat in the arteries.
The results confirmed that red wine has helpful effects in the metabolic profile of patients, increasing HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL, an important factor when determining the risk of heart disease. The control of sugar levels in the blood was found to be dependent on the type of metabolism, where only slow alcohol-metabolizers benefited from the ethanol effect on glucose control. About 20% of the patients in the study were found, through enzyme testing, to be fast alcohol-metabolizers. Sleep quality was improved on both wine groups, when compared to the water group.
Professor Iris Shai, principal investigator of the trial, commented on the results of white versus red wine in a news release, “The differences found between red and white wine were opposed to our original hypothesis that the beneficial effects of wine are mediated predominantly by the alcohol. Approximately 150 ml of the dry red or white tested wines contained ~17g ethanol and ~120kCal, but the red wine had sevenfold higher levels of total phenols and 4 to 13-fold higher levels of the specific resveratrol group compounds than the white wine. The genetic interactions suggest that ethanol plays an important role in glucose metabolism, while red wine’s effects additionally involve non-alcoholic constituents. Yet, any clinical implication of the CASCADE findings should be taken with caution with careful medical follow-up.”
The authors believe that the findings further confirm that moderate consumption of wine, especially red wine in association with a healthy diet, appears to be safe and might present some metabolic and cardiovascular benefits for stable diabetic patients.