Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wine and Tea to control Type 2 Diabetes

I just finished reading a press release from food scientists at UMass that discussed the results of a scientific study regarding how Antioxidants in Red Wine and Tea May Help Regulate Blood Sugar in Type 2 Diabetics. That sure sounds like a great thing! And, this type of news is always even better when the beneficial foods / compounds are gluten-free, as tea and wine should be (presuming no cross-contamination).

I already love tea, and though I don't often include wine in my diet, it is scientific findings like this that make me wonder if I should, just as a preventative measure. I wish the study would have looked at grape juice too (to see if it produces the same results - since I love grape juice, as compared to wine, which I am just "OK" with), but it did not.

Here's a brief of what the researchers reported:
“Levels of blood sugar, or blood glucose, rise sharply in patients with type 2 diabetes immediately following a meal,” says Shetty. “Red wine and tea contain natural antioxidants that may slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and eventually into the bloodstream and prevent this spike, which is an important step in managing this disease.”

One of the main challenges in managing diabetes is keeping blood sugar levels as normal as possible with few major fluctuations, which can prevent the disease from contributing to heart disease and high blood pressure as well as damaging the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels.

Both red and white wines were tested in the laboratory using in vitro enzyme studies to determine how well they could inhibit the activity of a target enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, responsible for triggering the absorption of glucose by the small intestine. Red wine was the winner, able to inhibit the enzyme by nearly 100 percent. Values for white wine hovered around 20 percent.
One thing I want to point out here, to anyone that isn't use to the term, is that "in vitro" essentially means in a controlled setting, a lab, a test-tube, whatever. I.e., this is NOT the equivalent of "in vivo", which means something testing on a living organism. So, before you get too excited about guzzling some gluten-free red wine or tea, keep in mind the results demonstrated in a lab setting may not really produce the same effect in your body through diet. If they did, curing diseases like Celiac would be rather simple (since, gluten can easily be broken down with enzymes in a test-tube, though such apparent "cures" may not bode well for your internal organs).

I'd think drinking tea would generally be harmless (if you don't get too much caffeine) and a bit of red wine now and then may have other beneficial and prior demonstrable value (some studies suggest positive cardiac impact). My main interest and hope is that longer term in vivo studies on the polyphenolics in tea and wine prove out the apparent Type-2 diabetes protection these compounds offer en vitro currently.

The study (here's a link to the full tea and wine for Type-2 diabetes control press release) offered some discussion / speculation about how a natural tea / wine approach to diabetes control could also reduce or eliminate the side effects seen with current medications (also a plus!)

Well, time will tell. But, even without further "proof", I think this is a good enough excuse for me to go brew up a nice glass of Black Pekoe tea now! (and who knows, perhaps a bit of Red Wine with dinner the next couple days?)


Anne said...

No doubt that tea and wine can be healthy but the best method I have found for controlling blood sugar is the frequent use of a glucometer. My doctors have not diagnosed me with diabetes even though I have had readings high enough according to the ADA. They say I am "only insulin resistant". So I bought a glucometer and started testing myself before and after meals. By doing this I have been able to eliminate the foods that spike my blood sugar.

Foods such as the Think Green bars, mentioned earlier, are out for me as 28gms of carbs would shoot my blood sugar up to 200.

Lynn Barry said...

I never heard this finding...thanks, Mike...hubby is diabetic, but not a tea drinker and not a drinker of alcoholic bevs. Hope you are well...

Mike Eberhart said...

Anne, you right about the Think Green bars - rather high in carbs. But, the "Think Thin" gluten-free bars are supposed to be diabetic friendly, as they have very low net carbs through use of alcohol sugars (that don't impact blood sugar like normal sugar does). Maybe those would be worth a try.

Lynn, yes, I am well and busy working on getting a garden ready with my wife. Given food prices, we are expanding our garden a LOT this year (the yard is giving way to veggie-production). Maybe the tea will be helpful for your hubby too - hope so, and it can't hurt. Take care.

Sam said...

Great information. My friend is a tea lover but diagnosis to diabetes he is least drinker of tea. I am going to read your blog to my friend. Thank you

Ken said...

Thanks for this control method because this will help my sick younger brother.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend has type 2 diabetes. His blood sugar has been fairly normal since he quit drinking milk, which has alot of natural sugar in it. He quit drinking afew months ago, but tonight had a half a glass of red wine and his blood sugar spiked up. So, I'm thinking that drinking red wine is not good for a diabetic. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the article, but I'm not sure why you would tell diabetics it's safe to drink red wine when it very well might not be.