Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Drinking alcohol has long been associated with a number of health benefits, in addition to its known risks (which can include addiction and abuse, as well as higher blood triglyceride levels in some people). As we noted here at Diabetes Flashpoints two years ago, moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes that is independent of other lifestyle-related factors. And, according to a new study, alcohol consumption seems to have a general blood-glucose-lowering effect — with the greatest effect seen from drinking red wine.

The study, published earlier this month in the journal Clinical Nutrition, looked at 67 Spanish men with a high risk for cardiovascular problems. Researchers randomly assigned each man to drink either gin containing 30 grams of alcohol (equaling 100 milliliters, or roughly 3.4 ounces, of gin), red wine containing 30 grams of alcohol (equaling 272 milliliters, or roughly 9.2 ounces, of red wine), or the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine each day for four weeks. According to an article on the study at NutraIngredients.com, insulin resistance in both of the wine-drinking groups dropped by 22% to 30%, while it dropped by only 14% to 22% in the gin-drinking group. This indicates, of course, that most of the benefit in the wine-drinking group came from something other than alcohol — assumed to be the wine’s polyphenols (including resveratrol), chemicals associated with numerous health benefits including reduced inflammation and cancer resistance. One change was clearly seen only from alcohol consumption, however. Participants assigned to drink either regular red wine or gin saw increases in their HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good”cholesterol) level, while those in the dealcoholized wine group did not.

An individual’s choice to drink — and choice of drink — are usually based on a number of factors including habit and social influences, but health concerns can and often should also play a role in these decisions. Your doctor can be a good source of information regarding whether or not you should drink in the context of your triglyceride level and prediabetes or diabetes status.

What factors shape your decision to drink, or not to drink, alcohol? Does this study make you more eager to choose red wine over other alcoholic beverages? Do you often find it difficult to choose a “healthier” alcoholic beverage, as drinking is often a highly social activity in which choice may be limited? How much would you alter your current drinking practices (or lack thereof) if scientific evidence turned strongly for or against alcohol? Leave a comment below!


  1. Yeah you better switch to occasional wine drinking than beers or other beverages that high in alcohol. Also, wine has better taste.

    Posted by Scott Alexander |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

Doctor Payments Revealed (04/16/14)
The Costs of Innovation (04/09/14)
Diabetes to Go (04/02/14)
Veggie Persuasion (03/26/14)



Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.

Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Subscription questions