Diabetes mellitus - often referred to simply as diabetes - is a condition in which the body either does not produce any insulin (Type 1) or not enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas to overcome the underlying insulin resistance of the cells in the body (Type 2). Insulin enables glucose (sugar) to enter the cells in order to be stored as glycogen or oxidized for energy. These defects cause glucose to accumulate in the blood, inevitably leading to serious complications. The positive effects of moderate wine and other alcoholic beverage consumption are only relevant for individuals with type-2 diabetes.


Type 2 Diabetes


The underlying defect is insulin resistance due to obesity and lack of exercise. Insulin resistance means that the cells do not respond to the insulin signal. In return, the pancreas tries to overcome this resistance by increasing the insulin output which enables the glucose to enter the cells. Once the beta-cells cannot compensate the high demand of insulin for proper function, the glucose will remain in the blood leading to an increased blood sugar level. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are type 2.


In 2010, the International Diabetes Federation estimated the global prevalence of diabetes mellitus at 6.6% in adults. Type-2 diabetes is now one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the world and a major cause of premature illness and death in most countries. To prevent diabetic complications and premature death, patients are recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle.  


Evidence from randomized-controlled intervention studies as well as from population studies have demonstrated that light to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages will improve insulin sensitivity in insulin resistant people. Accordingly, large prospective studies have shown a reduced risk for developing the metabolic syndrome (MS, name for a group of risk factors that raise the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A metabolic syndrome exists when at least 3 of the following risk factors are present: overweight, high triglyceride level, elevated plasma glucose level,  low HDL cholesterol level and high blood pressure) . A moderate intake of  wine as well as other alcoholic beverages exerts a beneficial effect on MS. In addition, large population studies suggest that light to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with a lower diabetic risk than abstaining or heavy drinking, independently of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. Meta-analyses reported a J-shaped relationship for men and women with a reduced risk for a moderate intake of alcoholic beverages and an increased risk for more than 50-60 g/d. With regards to wine and diabetes, most studies found  beneficial effects. But not only the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is decreased with moderate drinking; it may also reduce CHD and CVD mortality in diabetics as well as potential cardiac complications relating to diabetes. This is especially important considering that coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among individuals with type-2 diabetes, who also have a 4-fold increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Research indicates that this risk decreases considerably when they consume wine moderately with meals.


Considering the world-wide epidemic of type 2 diabetes which is expected to rise even further and is associated with major health care costs, preventing diabetes is a major public health issue. It seems that drinking wine in moderation could  help reduce type 2 diabetes and thereby contribute to public health.

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.





AIMS: Observational studies report inconsistent associations between moderate alcohol intake and blood pressure (BP). In a sub-study of a larger randomized controlled trial, we assessed the effect of initiating moderate red wine consumption on 24-h BP recordings and the effect of a common genetic variant of alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) among patients with type 2 diabetes. METHODS: Fifty-four type 2 diabetes, alcohol abstainers were randomized to consume 150ml/dinner dry red wine or mineral water. Both groups were guided to adhere to a Mediterranean diet, without caloric restriction. We measured 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) at baseline and after 6 months. RESULTS: Participants (age = 57 years; 85% men; mean 24-h BP = 129/77mm Hg) had 92% 6-month retention. After 6 months…
Background: Recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption remain controversial, particularly in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Long-term randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) are lacking. Objective: To assess cardiometabolic effects of initiating moderate alcohol intake in persons with T2DM and whether the type of wine matters. Design: 2-year RCT (CASCADE [CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes & Ethanol] trial). (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00784433). Setting: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev-Soroka Medical Center and Nuclear Research Center Negev, Israel. Patients: Alcohol-abstaining adults with well-controlled T2DM. Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to 150 mL of mineral water, white wine, or red wine with dinner for 2 years. Wines and mineral water were provided. All groups followed a Mediterranean diet without caloric restriction. Measurements: Primary outcomes were lipid and glycemic control profiles. Genetic…
OBJECTIVES: Habitual alcohol drinking has been shown to reduce the risk for diabetes by recent meta-analysis studies. However, it remains to be clarified whether the relationship between alcohol and diabetes is influenced by adiposity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether glycemic status is influenced by alcohol drinking in women. METHODS: The subjects were 18 352 Japanese women, 35 to 60 years of age, who underwent health check-up examinations. The subjects were divided into 4 groups: nondrinkers, occasional drinkers, regular light drinkers (/=22 g ethanol/day). The relationship between alcohol consumption and glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels was investigated by using analysis of covariance and logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age and histories of smoking and regular exercise. RESULTS:…
OBJECTIVE: Observational studies indicate that moderate levels of alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition to providing an updated summary of the existing literature, this meta-analysis explored whether reductions in risk may be the product of misclassification bias. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A systematic search was undertaken, identifying studies that reported a temporal association between alcohol consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. No restrictions were placed upon the language or date of publication. Non-English publications were, where necessary, translated using online translation tools. Models were constructed using fractional polynomial regression to determine the best-fitting dose-response relationship between alcohol intake and type 2 diabetes, with a priori testing of sex and referent group interactions.…
We examined the association between alcohol-drinking pattern and diabetes mellitus (DM) in Korean adults. This cross-sectional study included 12,486 participants (5551 men and 6935 women) who participated in the 2010-2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We categorized alcohol-drinking pattern into three groups based on the alcohol-use disorders identification test (AUDIT): low-risk (score: 0-7), intermediate-risk (score: 8-14), and high-risk (score: >/=15). DM was defined as having fasting plasma glucose >/=126 mg/dL or taking glucose-lowering medication, including insulin therapy. In the study population, 25.2% of men and 4.7% of women were high-risk drinkers. DM prevalence was 9.2% in men and 5.4% in women. DM prevalence was 9.0% and 5.7% in the low-risk drinking group, 7.6% and 4.1% in the intermediate-risk…

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