Monday, 03 July 2017 12:18

A lot of interest in wine and diabetes during the Congress of Internal Medicine in Germany


More than 100 interested physicians attended the DWA symposium “Diabetes – How to deal with the lifestyle factor wine” in Mannheim, Germany, during the Congress of Internal Medicine.  During the introduction, Dr. Claudia Stein-Hammer explained why the Deutsche Weinakademie (DWA) disseminates the benefits and risks of wine consumption primarily to physicians. Because of their background, the doctors are able to assess the latest research results in the literature. 


Healthy lifestyle, no therapy

As the title of the event already indicates, wine is not a medicine, it is part of a healthy lifestyle. Since diabetes is strongly influenced by lifestyle and is increasing rapidly and occurring at a younger age, wine can be an important factor. 

Prof. Kristian Rett, diabetes specialist and internist, reminds the audience that alcoholic beverages were already part of the diabetes treatment in the time before insulin existed. Alcoholic beverages were used to decrease the fat content of the patients’ extremely low carb diet. It was already known then that alcohol could decrease the urinary glucose excretion.

Prof. Dr. Kristian Rett

Today, all the various effects of ethanol on the metabolism are well known, even at the molecular level. Ethanol not only changes the energy metabolism in the different organs and the lipid synthesis in the liver, but has an insulin-like effect in the muscle cells. To avoid hypoglycemia, however, alcoholic beverages should exclusively be consumed with the meals. Various extensive meta-analyses have shown that the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated the lowest diabetes risk.


Prof. Dr. Iris Shai

Wine - part of a healthy diabetes diet

The nutrition and epidemiology professor from the Ben-Gurion University in Israel, Prof. Iris Shai initiated the CASCADE study (CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes & Ethanol Trial) several years ago, where well-adjusted and formerly abstinent diabetics followed a Mediterranean diet and drunk either 150 ml wine or water with the daily dinners.

After 2 years, the results showed that moderate wine consumption together with a balanced diet reduced the risk factors for secondary diseases slightly. Patients who were – due to genetic reasons - slow alcohol metabolisers, benefited in particular from moderate wine consumption and various factors of the glucose metabolism improved.  

Constructive discussion

The interest of the audience was reflected in the constructive questions during the discussion but they also appreciated the evidence-based information about this ambivalent topic. The healthy lifestyle plays more and more an important role in physicians‘ offices. By now for many doctors, a healthy diet, exercise and a glass of wine are part of such a lifestyle. 


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