A recent study has shown that a daily glass of red wine could be beneficial to those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
The research, published on Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, was led by Iris Shai, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negevin Beer Sheva, Israel. The purpose was to test the validity of former studies, which had suggested that moderate alcohol use could help manage diabetes.
The experts asked 224 patients with type 2 diabetes, aged between 40 and 75 , to drink 150 milliliters (around 5 ounces) of a certain beverage for 2 years. One group was assigned to consume mineral water, another group had to drink white wine and the third was asked to drink red wine.
None of the participants had drunk alcohol regularly before, and aside from this new dinner habit they were also required to follow a Mediterranean diet, consisting in healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables.
Approximately 87% of the subjects were able to incorporate these guidelines into their lifestyle, with 80% consuming wine on a daily basis.
Researchers determined that following this experiment the patients who had drunk red wine had benefited the most from this change in their routine. A possible explanation could be that this beverage contains healthy phenolic compounds like resveratrol and quercetin.
For example, red wine drinkers elevated their HDL cholesterol by approximately 10%. HDL reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and decreases the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, they also boosted their cholesterol profiles, by diminishing their ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Also, they improved their apolipoprotein a1 levels, which are linked to lipid metabolism.
In addition, these patients also experienced an improvement in symptoms related to metabolic syndrome. This condition, which manifests itself through large waist circumference, and high levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, puts people at risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
On the other hand, those who had consumed white wine had lower triglyceride levels in comparison with subjects who drank red wine or water.
Glycemic control was much improved just among a group of participants, whose genetic inheritance causes their livers to metabolize alcohol at a slower place. Moreover, researchers haven’t determined a clear link between red wine and lower mortality rate or diminished incidence of heart attacks.
“Although red wine was superior and preferable, we would not recommend to completely stick only to it, but to enjoy both wines in moderation, and as part of a healthy diet”, explained professor Shai.
According to the study authors, follow-up research has to be conducted in multi-center alcohol randomized controlled trials, in order to carefully assess the impact of wine on health constraints and mortality.
Meanwhile, critics of these findings claim that the improvements aren’t significant enough to indicate a clear link between red wine and reduced cholesterol and blood sugar.
For example, Dr. Sethu Reddy, Chief of the Adult Diabetes Section at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, cautioned that wine should be drunk in moderation, preferably during meals. Moreover, patients should monitor their blood sugar levels before and after consumption in order to establish exactly how their bodies react to this beverage.
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