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Is Wine Bad or Good for People with Diabetes?

An Israeli study suggests that a daily glass of wine might shrink plaque in the arteries of people with diabetes, answering the question is wine bad or good.
Is Wine Bad or Good for People with Diabetes?
Cropped shot of dark skinned female touching glass of red wine with both hands selective focus on drink. Black woman with Afro hairstyle sitting at bar smiling waiting for friend to join her later

People with diabetes are often cautioned to avoid alcohol altogether. Doctors reason that a drink can make it much harder to control blood sugar. On the other hand, wine has a reputation as a healthful indulgence. As a result, people may well wonder, is wine bad or good for people with diabetes?

Wine Bad or Good?

Moderation is crucial. A recent study suggests that if people with diabetes drink just one glass of wine a day, the plaque in their arteries may not grow (Golan et al, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Jan. 29, 2018). In some cases, it may even shrink a bit.

The study was carried out in Israel, where investigators randomly assigned more than 200 individuals with type 2 diabetes to drink a glass of red wine, white wine or mineral water every day. The volunteers also followed a Mediterranean diet, Israeli style.

Ultrasound images of arteries showed that about 45 percent of the volunteers had plaque in their vessels when the study began. Two years later, the plaque had not gotten worse. But those with the worst plaque at the outset of the study actually saw modest reductions if they were in the wine-drinking group.

Not The Last Word:

These results are not overwhelming. Consequently, the scientists say that people who don’t already drink shouldn’t start. On the other hand, those with a low risk of alcohol abuse may benefit from enjoying a glass a day as part of a Mediterranean diet. Good company for tasty meals, accompanied by a glass of wine, should help people relax. Whether or not that is good for the arteries, it could be good for the soul.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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