Glass of Red Wine Won't Hurt Those With Diabetes, and May Help


After 2 years, those drinking red wine had improved "good" cholesterol and other benefits.

Everything in moderation—and so it goes with a glass of wine at dinner for those with diabetes, according to a study published today.

Findings reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients who followed a healthy diet and drank a glass of red wine with dinner for 2 years had improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and other benefits, compared with those who followed the same diet and drank mineral water.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned patients to drink 150 mL of mineral water, white wine, or red wine with dinner for 2 years. All patients followed a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and a bit of olive oil. The primary outcomes were patients’ blood pressure and glycemic control profiles. Genetic measurements were taken, and medication use recorded.

The study’s main author wrote that benefits and risk vary with each individual and may have a genetic component.

Of the 224 patients, 94% had follow-up data at 1 year and 87% at 2 years. In addition to changes in the group drinking water, the group drinking red wine reported significantly increased HDL cholesterol—up 0.05 mmol/L—and decreased overall cholesterol. Only those who were genetically shown to be slow to metabolize ethanol benefited from both types of wine.

Across the 3 groups, there were no differences in blood pressure, adiposity, liver function, drug therapy, symptoms or quality of life, except that sleep quality improved across the wine groups compared with the water group. Compared with the water group, the red wine group further reduced the components of metabolic syndrome.


Gepner Y, Golan R, Harman-Boehm I, et al. Effects of initiating moderate alcohol intake on cardiometabolic risk in adults with type 2 diabetes: a 2-year randomized controlled trial. Ann Intern Med [published online October 13, 2015]. 2015; doi:10.7326/M14-1650.

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