A 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that drinking a little wine helped men and women with Type II diabetes decrease their cardiometabolic risk (the likelihood of developing additional conditions such as heart disease or stroke).
Of course, this finding flies in the face of nearly all the prevailing “wisdom” you read about Type II diabetes and the supposed dangers of moderate drinking.
It even flies in the face of most “wisdom” I come across in medical literature.
In fact, I recently read an article in a widely respected medical news source for doctors that claimed any amount of alcohol is a problem for anyone and everyone.(I’ve often discussed the science which refutes these claims. Simply search my archives — using the keyword “alcohol” — on DrMicozzi.com.)
Of course, some government health “experts” seem to want us to believe all alcohol is always bad for everyone, in order to support their politically correct agenda.
But I go with the science. And it’s far from the first myth I’ve busted with science this fall.
In fact, I’ve been writing a lot recently about persistent medical myths that continue make headlines despite lack of evidence. ‘Tis the season, I suppose… so I’ve been calling them Legends of the Fall as a nod to the 1994 film with Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. (You can read the other “legends” I’ve set straight this fall by visiting DrMicozzi.com and typing “legends of the fall” — in quotations — into the search bar.)
Mind you, I’m not suggesting ever drinking to excess. Problem drinkers suffer from a number of debilitating diseases. And they also cause most of the fatal accidents on the roads.
But, instead of concentrating on these problem drinkers, the government cracks down on social drinkers. They impose ever-increasing Draconian restrictions against having just one or two drinks before driving. That’s not the problem.
Politically correct public health “experts” often use this old trick. They take any problem (whether addiction, infection, or other behavior), which clearly applies only to one relatively small group, and attempt to apply it to the population at large. Using fear, extortion, and power (not to mention more tax dollars), in a futile attempt to fix a problem for a relatively small group — which then, not surprisingly, never gets fixed.
Since alcohol is a problem for about 9 percent of people who drink, they claim they should protect the other 90 percent of us against any and all alcohol. And they try to convince us all that “everyone is at risk” in an effort to secure more funding, more control, and more restrictions of our civil liberties.
They also try to single out people with certain chronic conditions that drinking any alcohol is especially bad for them (as I reported in a former Daily Dispatch titled, “Alcohol study throws out baby with the bathwater”).
For example, the government tells people with heart disease they shouldn’t drink anything. This recommendation goes against all the evidence that moderate alcohol prevents heart disease, probably by reducing stress and, more directly, by improving circulation.
In addition, they tell people with GI conditions they shouldn’t drink. (Of course, they also used to advise the same people to eat bland diets. There was never any evidence for such a diet. And a whole lot of people ended up missing out on a lot of tasty and healthy foods and spices.)
Now, they say people with Type II diabetes shouldn’t drink. They say alcohol is a carb and thus it interferes with metabolism.
But what does the hard evidence show?
People with Type II diabetes benefit from moderate drinking
According to a recent study from Israel, drinking moderate amounts of wine improves cardiometabolic risk markers in Type II diabetics.
This study included 224 patients with controlled Type II diabetes from two centers in Israel. Those who consumed 150 mL/day (five ounces) of red wine per day as part of a Mediterranean Diet had significantly higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A after two years, as compared to those who drank an equivalent amount of water on the same diet.
In addition, a group assigned to drink white wine decreased fasting blood sugar. Both red and white wine drinkers also had significantly improved triglyceride levels.
Furthermore, neither red nor white wine drinkers experienced significant changes in blood pressure, body weight, liver function, or use of medications. There were no adverse events or symptoms reported. And both red and white wine drinkers also had significantly improved sleep quality as an additional benefit.
This study’s findings make perfect sense to me. Anecdotally, I hear from people with diabetes all the time who say moderate drinking helps control their symptoms.
In fact, as I wrote a few years ago, people with lifelong diabetes swear that moderate alcohol consumption at lunch and dinner specifically helps with peripheral circulation and their feeling in their extremities. Indeed, the science shows alcohol dilates peripheral blood vessels and helps blood circulation.
Furthermore, a prior study found that 109 non-drinkers who started moderate red wine consumption decreased their blood sugar in just three months [they probably measured HgbA1C which would go down, observable after three months—but either way]. And, of course, many prior studies link moderate alcohol intake with reduced heart disease and mortality, and improved longevity in the general population.
So, let’s sum up all the myths this new study busted, shall we?
Study busts five more myths about moderate alcohol consumption
- First, there’s no end-all, be-all “magic bullet” in red wine specifically (at least at moderate levels). As the study showed, white wine is also beneficial.
- Second, there is no “magic bullet” in wine, in general.If resveratrol or some other constituent caused the boost in metabolism, you’d have to drink barrels of wine to get an effective dose. As I always remind you, alcohol itself, at moderate doses, confers the benefits.So — it doesn’t matter whether you drink white or red — or a beer or cocktail for that matter. As long as you drink in moderation, you will gain the health benefits.
- Third, this study busted the myth that people with Type II diabetes shouldn’t drink alcohol. As it turns out, if you have Type II diabetes, moderate drinking does not cause metabolic problems. Quite the contrary — it helps with sugar metabolism and circulation!
- Fourth, the study busts the myth that drinking moderate alcohol causes problems for blood pressure, your liver, or something else.
- Fifth, prevailing wisdom says drinking disrupts sleep. But according to this study, moderate drinking actually helps you get a better night’s sleep.
Nonetheless, the researchers described their research results as “controversial.” I’ve been reporting the science on the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption for a while now. To me, the study seemed to focus more on which color wine to drink.
So, what’s the only real dilemma? When you eat meat or pastas, drink a red. And when you eat seafood, poultry, or lighter dishes (like turkey), drink a white. And when you want to reduce your cardiometabolic risk, drink either one — it’s simple.
Don’t be afraid to enjoy a toast or two at Thanksgiving — I’ll tell you more about that next time.
Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-Year Randomized, Controlled Trial,” Annals Internal Medicine 2015 Oct 20;163(8):569-79