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 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).
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.
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?)