Red Wine Boosts Heart Health in Type 2 Diabetes

Red Wine Boosts Heart Health in Type 2 Diabetes

Oct. 12, 2015 — Should you have a glass of wine with dinner?

Science has what can seem like a million different answers for this question. If you’re a woman under 45, the answer might be no — a daily drink could raise your risk of breast cancer. But if you’re a man in your 60s, the evidence is mixed. Some studies show it might be good for men’s hearts, while other, more recent studies suggest there’s no benefit from moderate drinking.

Throw a chronic condition into the mix, like diabetes, and the answers are even more confusing. Alcohol can lower blood sugar, which might seem like a good thing — unless you drink too much. In that case, drinking can cause an episode of dangerously low blood sugar.

Beyond blood sugar, there’s been limited evidence that moderate drinking might improve heart health. If true, that’s important since people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease.

That’s why a new study is a standout. It found that having a daily glass of red wine modestly improved some measures of heart health.

Researchers were precise when they designed the study, including only men and women between the ages of 40 and 75 with stable, type 2 diabetes — they couldn’t need more than two insulin injections a day or be on an insulin pump. People were also excluded if they smoked or had a history of heart attack, stroke, or a recent major surgery.

They also did something that’s unusual for alcohol studies: They randomly assigned 224 people to drink a glass of red or white wine or water with dinner every day for 2 years. That’s the longest any group has been followed for this kind of test.

They were also a little sneaky. When they were recruiting for the study, they didn’t tell people they were going to test the health effects of alcohol. Instead, they told them they would be eating a healthy, Mediterranean diet. They wanted to find people who abstained from alcohol as a general rule.

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