Diabetes and Wine
What follows is an anecdotal tale of my personal experiences. I can not begin to stress enough that I am not giving advice, and that you should check with your doctor and nutritionist before changing your diet in any way. That said, here is what life is like for a diabetic ex-chef with a serious love for wine.
Carbs are the killer. White bread and white rice are just as bad as sugar for my glycemic index (a term I will be using a lot, and abbreviating as GI). Whole wheat bread is better than white bread, but brown rice doesn't seem to make any difference, for me.
It is that "difference for me" part that is important. Being a good scientist I test my blood sugar level any time I add something new to my diet. This is the only way I can tell what makes a difference, and how much.
Not all carbs effect me the same way. I can eat potatoes without a blip in my GI. I can eat starchy vegetables like beans and corn, and again, no problem for me. I so much as look at regular pasta and my numbers go through the roof (the Dreamfields brand of pasta is much better on my numbers).
The good news for red wine lovers is that most dry red wines have little to no sugar (that being the meaning of dry). White wines are much more likely to have some sugar.
Personally, I love dessert wines, and these have been relegated to the once in a great while category. That said, I recently tested my numbers two hours after having a big glass of very sweet dessert wine, and I was only 110. I suspect that my body deals with the fructose (the sugar in fruit, and so wine) better than other kinds of carbs.
Diabetics are trying to ensure their future. Rarely do we really have to worry about day to day effects of diabetes (unless you go way too low, or way too high). It is all about reducing the risk of complications, especially cardiac complications, that might pop up years from now.
Considering the health benefits of red wine, many diabetics, myself included, consider that a moderate amount of red wine is down right good for us. Most of the expert sources reluctantly agree. If you test, and red wine does not seem to be effecting your GI, than a glass or two with a meal may be for you.
This is important news for wine loving diabetics. Too many of us assume that our lives have been changed so dramatically that we will never be able to enjoy anything we love, ever again. In all things moderation, and for diabetics, or anyone, a moderate amount of wine may not be anything to be concerned with.
I can not stress enough how important it is to test regularly, and randomly. I was so good about testing that I had gotten to the point where I knew exactly what effect every type of food would have on me. And so I got out of the habit. Dramatic, and unhealthy weight loss after a bout of the flu sent me back to my meter to see if there was a connection, and indeed there was. My numbers were in the high 300s, close to needing to be hospitalized.
A couple of weeks of careful diet, and a slight adjustment of my medication and I was back to where I was before (with an A1c around 6). The great news is that I was not only able to get it all back under control again, but I did it, and continue to do it without suffering a bit.
If you or a loved one are a diabetic and a wine drinker, there is hope. After checking with your doctor, nutritionists, and making sure you attorneys don't hold me liable, you may be able to continue enjoying your red wine (and occasional sweet or white wines) without a qualm.
UPDATE: There has been a study that suggests that red wine may actually be good for diabetics. The Resveratrol found in red wine has been given credit for red wine's effect on improved cardiac health and reduced cholesterol levels. Now it has been found to curb insulin resistance in mice. Of course much more study needs to be done, but this certainly doesn't hurt the rationalization for diabetics enjoying a little red wine in moderation.
You may look up for yourself that red wine has little to no sugars at the USDA Web Site. You will have to search for Red Wine, since the URL didn't contain the search values, and I could only link you to the search page. I should have posted this link in the original article.