Amanda Davey

Drinking a glass of red wine with dinner is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, improving cholesterol profile and blood sugar control, according to a long-term study.

The study of 224 teetotalers who were randomly assigned to drink either red wine, white wine or water with dinner every day for 2 years suggests the red wine drinkers have healthier blood fat profiles.

The results show the red wine drinkers have a modest increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels (0.05mmol/L) and a reduced total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol ratio, compared with those who drank water. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol is considered a very strong indicator of heart disease risk – the higher the ratio, the higher the risk.

The red wine drinkers also experienced improvements in their apolipoprotein a1 levels (low levels are an indicator of early heart disease) and had fewer symptoms of metabolic syndrome – a collection of conditions which occurring together increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

White wine drinkers also achieved improvements in markers of blood sugar control, but these were more modest than for red wine, report the Israeli researchers.

This suggests that it is the plant compound ingredients in red wine that is important.

Lead author Professor Iris Shai, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, says the differences between red and white wine contradicted his team’s original hypothesis; that the beneficial effects of wine would be mediated by the alcohol.

“This long-term . . . trial suggests that initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics as part of a healthy diet is apparently safe and modestly decreases cardiometabolic risk,” write the researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Last Reviewed: 15/10/2015



Gepner Y, et al. Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes. Ann Intern Med. Published online 13 October 2015 doi:10.7326/M14-1650.