Can a diabetic drink wine?

Written by heidi maines
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Can a diabetic drink wine?

If you have diabetes or know someone who does, you are likely aware of the specific foods and drinks that diabetic individuals must consume and others they must avoid. You may have asked yourself, where does wine fall on the list? Can diabetics drink it? While it's been found to be good for the human heart in moderation, it's important to understand the effects it has on those with diabetes.

Dry Wine

Dry wine does not inhibit diabetic control. It contains almost no sugar, and only has a caloric count from the alcohol itself. It is permissible for diabetics, according to the American Diabetes Association. The late Dr. Peter H. Forsham, a professor at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, said, ''Dry wine is fairly low in carbohydrates, and the negative effects of alcohol on the diabetic are minimal and are for the most part limited to the consumption of alcohol in large amounts.''

Sweet Wine

Due to its higher sugar content, sweet wine is not as highly recommended for diabetics. But it is not banned either. If consuming sweet wine, diabetics should sip it slowly so blood sugar levels do not drastically change. Diabetics shouldn't have alcohol as often, and should always eat something while drinking. A safe daily intake for diabetics is one glass of wine for women and two for men.


Cautions may arise when those with diabetes consume wine, whether dry or sweet. There is more of a health risk among those with illnesses in addition to diabetes. According to Forsham, there are possible dangers, including hypoglycaemia, linked to drinking wine by diabetics. However, Forsham did state that "the effects are minimal with moderate consumption of wine."


According to a World Health Organization study published in a supplement of the journal Diabetes, a study showed a reduction in coronary deaths among diabetics was associated with moderate alcohol consumption. Dr. Harvey Finkel of the Boston University Medical Center wrote in an article titled "Should Diabetics Drink?" that, although drinking wine may never be a recommended treatment for diabetes, it is still safe and "beneficial from the point of view of cardiovascular risk in selected populations, both diabetic and non-diabetic."

Expert Insight

Blood-sugar levels increase immediately after people with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disorder among adults, eat a meal. In an article at, Kalidas Shetty, a professor of food biotechnology at the University of Massachusetts, said, "Red wine and tea contain natural [phenolic] antioxidants that may slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and eventually into the bloodstream and prevent this spike."

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