(HealthDay News) — Moderate red wine intake is safe and modestly decreases cardiometabolic risk among patients with well-controlled diabetes following the Mediterranean diet, according to a study published online Oct. 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Yftach Gepner, M.P.H., from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and colleagues randomly assigned patients 150 milliliters of mineral water, white wine, or red wine with dinner for two years. All patients followed a Mediterranean diet without caloric restriction, and of the 224 who initially participated, 94 percent had one-year follow-up data and 87 percent had two-year follow-up data.

The researchers found that red wine significantly increased the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level by 0.05 mmol/L (P < 0.001) and apolipoprotein(a)1 level by 0.03 g/L (P = 0.05) and decreased the total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio by 0.27 (P = 0.039). A significant benefit from both wines on glycemic control (fasting plasma glucose, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, and hemoglobin A1c), was seen only in slow ethanol metabolizers (alcohol dehydrogenase alleles [ADH1B*1] carriers) compared with fast ethanol metabolizers (persons homozygous for ADH1B*2). Compared with water, red wine further significantly reduced the number of components of the metabolic syndrome (P = 0.049).

“The genetic interactions suggest that ethanol plays an important role in glucose metabolism, and red wine’s effects also involve nonalcoholic constituents,” the authors write.

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