Is Red Wine Good For Type 2 Diabetes?

Of the 37 million people with diabetes in the United States, 90 to 95%¹ have type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can increase your risk of developing severe health conditions such as cardiovascular problems, nerve damage, vision loss, and kidney disease. 

Fortunately, most people can manage the effects of type 2 diabetes through diet and lifestyle changes. Because there are many treatment options available for type 2 diabetes, it’s possible to live a long and healthy life with the condition.

Researchers continue to look for new methods to help people manage the harmful effects of type 2 diabetes. A study suggests that drinking a glass of red wine could help delay or even prevent some of the disease’s most serious side effects. 

Should you be having a glass of red wine with dinner? Learn more about what the research says, how you might benefit, and what risks you should be aware of before you pour yourself a glass. 

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We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Type 2 diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is the link between red wine and type 2 diabetes?

People with type 2 diabetes have to carefully manage their diets to prevent spikes in their blood glucose levels. Glucose comes from the food you eat, primarily through carbohydrates in foods like bread, pasta, and refined sugar. 

In someone without diabetes, insulin helps move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it’s used to provide energy. 

When you have type 2 diabetes, though, your body resists the effects of insulin. Your body also won’t produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. That means your glucose levels stay high. 

Elevated glucose levels can lead to other serious health concerns in the long term, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease

Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help keep blood glucose levels stable and prevent further health risks. 

It’s been common practice for doctors to recommend that people with type 2 diabetes stay away from alcohol, as some alcohol contains large amounts of refined sugars that can cause a spike in your glucose levels. However, both red and white wine contain relatively low amounts of sugar, making them a safer alcoholic beverage option.

It turns out that wine could actually help you control your glucose levels. While your liver produces and releases glucose, it’s also responsible for metabolizing alcohol.

After you drink, your liver will prioritize alcohol metabolization instead of managing glucose levels. That means that for a period after consuming a glass of wine, your glucose levels will stay relatively stable. 

However, it’s essential that you eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal with your wine, as consuming wine on an empty stomach could actually lower your glucose levels too much.

What are the benefits of drinking red wine for people with type 2 diabetes?

Wine has been around for thousands of years, and many cultures have long believed that drinking it in moderation has health benefits. Research seems to back up those claims. 

Researchers have found evidence for the health benefits of a daily glass of red wine. Some of the benefits include: 

Improving cardiovascular health

People with type 2 diabetes are two times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, including an increased risk of experiencing a serious medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke. 

Moderate red wine consumption is associated with increased HDL levels, the “good” cholesterol that helps remove unhealthy cholesterol from your blood vessel walls. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been linked to lower blood pressure levels, an early indicator of cardiovascular diseases.

Reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

A 2015 study² found that after drinking 150 mL of red wine with dinner for two years, participants had a modest decrease in their risk of developing certain cardiometabolic conditions. This includes type 2 diabetes. 

Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes complications

A study³ found that after drinking red wine daily for two weeks, insulin resistance was improved. Reducing insulin resistance helps the body regulate glucose levels more easily. That means there is less risk of developing health risks associated with type 2 diabetes.

While there is evidence drinking a glass of red wine every day can be good for you if you have type 2 diabetes, you should discuss changes to your diet with your doctor first. Alcohol consumption will not be the best option for everyone with type 2 diabetes and, in some cases, could even put you at higher risk of developing complications.

What are the risks of drinking red wine when you have type 2 diabetes?

When it comes to alcohol, red wine is a relatively low-sugar option. It only has about 0.6 grams of sugar per 100 grams of wine.⁴ 

However, that isn’t the case for every glass of wine. Sweet dessert wines have significantly more sugar, nearly 8 grams per 100 grams of wine. It’s important to carefully monitor the amount of sugar in your beverage.

That way, you can ensure it won’t cause your glucose levels to elevate outside of the recommended healthy range set by your doctor.

Red wine can also lower your glucose levels too much. The effects of red wine on your glucose levels can last for up to 24 hours, but the risks are highest in the first hour when your liver is metabolizing your drink. 

It’s important to eat a healthy meal with red wine to help keep your blood sugars stabilized. You are also at a higher risk of developing low glucose levels if you drink during exercise or are on certain types of diabetic medications

Test your glucose levels more often when you are consuming alcohol to make sure they are staying in a range that’s healthy for you. 

Again, you should check with your doctor first before adding red wine to your dinner. They can give you guidance on how much you can drink and if there is any risk of interactions with medications. 

Healthy tips for drinking red wine

Can you keep your alcohol consumption healthy? Yes, you can. Here are some tips for doing so:

Stick with a small glass of red wine

You only need to drink five ounces of wine per day to get the benefits. If you drink more than one or two glasses, you can raise your blood sugar and cancel any long-term health benefits. 

Always drink your wine with food

Drinking wine alongside a healthy, well-balanced meal can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 14% compared to drinking wine without food. 

Choose red wine over other alcoholic drinks

White wine doesn’t appear to have the same health benefits as red, probably due to its lower levels of polyphenols. You should avoid beer or liquor, too, as consumption of these alcoholic beverages is linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Carefully monitor your glucose levels

The effects of alcohol on your glucose levels can last for several hours after you take your last sip. Monitor your glucose levels over time until you know how a glass of red wine is going to affect you. You should only consume alcohol if your glucose levels are well-managed. 

The lowdown

Research suggests that moderate consumption of red wine could have health benefits for those with type 2 diabetes. A glass of red wine with dinner may help lower glucose levels, reducing the body’s need for insulin. 

This occurs as the liver, which produces glucose, must first handle the metabolization of alcohol. While it metabolizes the alcohol, glucose release is inhibited. That keeps glucose levels relatively stable and may even lower them.

Research also shows that moderate consumption of red wine may decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place, especially when consumed with a meal. It can help increase insulin sensitivity, making it easier for the body to regulate glucose levels. 

Red wine can also benefit your cardiovascular health, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels and preventing cardiovascular disease. 

There are risks associated with red wine consumption. You must weigh the benefits against the risks before adding red wine to your diet. It may not be the right choice for everyone with type 2 diabetes, especially if they are on certain medications or if their glucose levels aren’t under control.

It’s important to stick to only one or two glasses of red wine per day and always drink it with a meal. 

The effects of red wine can last for up to 24 hours after your last sip, so carefully monitor your glucose levels after you drink to ensure they are staying in a safe and healthy range. Always check with your doctor before adding wine to your diet.

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