Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a team looked into the health benefits of moderate alcohol intake, a topic commonly debated. They randomly assigned participants to either drink 150 mL of mineral water, white wine, or red wine at dinner in a 1:1:1 ratio. All the participants had T2DM and were drinking more than 1 alcoholic drink per week or using an insulin pump. They were also required to follow a “Mediterranean diet” as outlined in their article. Blood samples collected at 0, 6, and 24 months were analyzed for lipid levels, glycemic control, and other data. After two years, the HDL levels in the red wine group significantly increased by 0.09 mmol/L, compared to the 0.04 mmol/L of the mineral water group. Bodyweight and blood pressure reductions among all the groups were about the same after 2 years. In participants with available DNA samples, the effect of the gene ADH1B, which encodes for an alcohol dehydrogenase, was also looked at. In people carrying the wild-type allele, glycemic control and blood pressure improvements were greater compared to those carrying the other allele.

The results of this study supports the idea that moderate consumption of alcohol can be beneficial towards ones health. The study did not see any negative effects from the daily consumption, so it safe and may help reduce cardiometabolic risk. Reading this article helped dispel my previous notion that drinking wine wasn’t actually beneficial to health. I had thought that it was just a misconception and didn’t actually have any scientific evidence to back up the claims of its benefits. Seeing that this study only looked at white and red wine, I am curious to see possible future studies on the benefits of other types of alcohol, like beer, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages.

Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:569-579.