In a trio of studies on wine and health, one questions whether it’s the wine or lifestyle that makes drinkers healthier; the other two show that it’s indeed the wine (or at least the grapes) that may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
As a fan of wine, shall we say, I’m always happy to pass along good news about wine and health. Well, Wine Spectator’s website recently reported on three studies that did my heart good. The first was “a new French study, scheduled to be published in an upcoming issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that finds that people who drink moderate amounts of wine are healthier in several key categories than nondrinkers.” And this being a French study, “moderate” to them meant drinking a half bottle of wine a day.
For the study, a team of researchers questioned nearly 150,000 Parisians about their drinking habits and examined their health. They found that women who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had “lower body-mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and blood lipids, including bad cholesterol.” Men who drank in moderation had “lower body-mass index, heart rate, blood pressure and better blood sugar levels, plus lower stress and depression scores.”
But rather than credit wine alone for all this good health, the study’s authors also stated that moderate drinkers tend to have healthier diets, exercise more and balance work and leisure better. And moderate consumption is also an indicator of optimal social status. Whatever the final outcome, if you enjoy wine on a regular basis, it sounds like you’re doing all right. Read the complete Wine Spectator report here.
Wine and reduced type 2 diabetes risk
In this case, it is the wine (or at least the grape) that does the job. Two separate studies, one from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the other from University of Michigan, have connected moderate wine consumption with reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Analyzing 10 years of health, lifestyle and drinking data for more than 35,000 men and women, the Dutch study concluded that “the lower rate of the disease among drinkers cannot be explained by a healthier lifestyle alone. Alcohol, in some way, contributed directly to a lower incidence of the disease—drinkers had a roughly 40 percent lower risk compared to abstainers.”
And while this study doesn’t offer any explanations as to why wine consumption may lower diabetes risk, the University of Michigan study does. Eating grapes, it seems, slows the development of hypertension and insulin resistance, both precursors to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. For their study, the Michigan team fed rats powder made from table grapes; the rats exhibited better blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance.
The effect is thought to be “due to phytochemicals, which occur naturally in grapes and wine and include tannins, anthocyanins and resveratrol.” As appealing as grape powder sounds, I think I’ll stick with my wine-drinking regimen. Read the complete Wine Spectator report here.