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Best Red Wine for Diabetics

Updated on September 17, 2017
sharonbellis profile image

Sharon is a certified Human Resources Manager with a passion for health topics, reading non-fiction books and research writing.

Relax with red wine
Relax with red wine | Source

Best Wine for Diabetics

Red wine and diabetes; you would not think this is a healthy combination but in fact it can be.

Red wine is a very popular accompaniment at a meal and in Italy it is a staple at the dinner table. My in-laws are Italian and my father-in-law makes his own wine. There is wine at dinner every day at their house. One might think this to be too much consumption but the fact is red wine is good for you.

Alcohol in general has the reputation of being very high in sugar and therefore moderation is key. However red wines, specifically dry red wines, are very low in sugar content, and it has been discovered that red wine might actually be beneficial to those with diabetes. There has also been some recent research that suggests that drinking dry red wine in moderation could be a beneficial supplement to diabetics who are taking medication. Further research is required but a review of current studies suggests that it is worth further investigation (Hausenblas, Schoulda & Smoliga, 2015).

Type two diabetes is on the rise in North America and the Western diet is certainly to blame. People with this affliction must be careful to watch what they consume and monitor their sugar intake. However, red wine consumption has been proven to have many positive health effects. Does this mean type 2 diabetics can enjoy a glass of wine regularly? The answer is a resounding YES!

Red wine and you
Red wine and you | Source

What is Diabetes?

There are two types of Diabetes; Diabetes type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is a condition where the pancreas does not produce any insulin whereas in type 2 the pancreas does produce it but there is a malfunction.

This malfunction has a genetic component but the risk factors are a poor diet that includes a high intake of fat and carbohydrates combined with a sedentary lifestyle. High intake of alcohol is also a risk factor.

The body needs energy to function much like gasoline powers your car. If you don't replenish the gas in your car - you aren't going anywhere are you? The body functions in much the same way; we must fuel our bodies with foods.

We produce glucose from the foods we eat. Glucose is our source of energy much like the gasoline in the car. In order to use this glucose for energy the body needs insulin which is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in your bloodstream.

In diabetes the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin or your body is not able to use the produced insulin properly. When this occurs there is a build up of sugar in your bloodstream because it is not being used for energy.

This build up of glucose, if left unchecked, can lead to very serious health problems. Diabetes is a serious disorder and if not controlled properly it can lead to conditions such as heart disease, blindness, kidney and nerve damage.

To Wine or not to Wine

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Red Wine Consumption is Heart Healthy

Heart healthy red wine
Heart healthy red wine | Source

Red Wine and Diabetes

What's New in Research

The healthy active agent in red wine is Resveratrol. It is a chemical found in the skins of grapes that has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent, and Resveratrol has lowered blood glucose levels in studies with diabetic rats (Science Letter, 2008).

As mentioned earlier a recent literature review has revealed the possibility of red wine as a complementary therapy to those who are currently being treated for type 2 diabetes (Hausenblas et al, 2015).

In addition, another promising area of research has revealed that the moderate consumption of red wine throughout ones life can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This was found to be true for those who were overweight (Fagherazzi, Vilier, Lajous, Boutron-Ruault & Balkau et al., 2014)

More research in this area is continuing but this certainly is encouraging for type 2 diabetics who would like to enjoy some red wine now and again.

Red Wine Benefits in the News

Did You Know?

Dry Red Wines have a low to no sugar content.

Wine grapes
Wine grapes | Source

Dry Red Wine

Best for Health

Generally speaking red wine has little sugar content. Dry red wines are the best choices for diabetics or anyone who is concerned about their health and sugar intake.

What constitutes a "dry" wine? Any wine that contains between 0 and 1.3 percent sugar is considered dry. You will not usually see this on the label but generally all red wines that are not considered a dessert, sweet or fruity wine have this lower level of sugar content.

A basic rule of thumb is that the higher the alcohol percentage the lower the sugar content. This is because the sugar gets converted to alcohol during fermenting. The sugar left behind after fermenting produces the sweetness in the wine.

Popular types of Dry Red Wines: The Low to No Sugar wine

There are many types of red wines to choose from when you are watching your sugar intake. Everyone, not just diabetics, should care about how much sugar they are ingesting as many wines are full of sugar. Take note of these types below for your next trip to pick up a bottle of wine.

  1. Pinot Noir: A medium to light bodied wine that is becoming very popular.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the most popular and best selling wines in the U.S. with a full bodied taste.
  3. Merlot: A softer, fruitier wine than the Cabernet Sauvignon.
  4. Malbec: a dark fruit wine commonly referred to as "the black wine".
  5. Zinfandel: This wine can have many different flavours from hearty and full to delicately light!
  6. Syrah (Shiraz): Wonderful fruit flavours with a touch of spice describes the Shiraz!

Interesting Fact!

Shiraz and Syrah are the same grapes just grown in different regions. Shiraz is from Australia and Syrah is from France.

Recommended Red Wine Brands

That Diabetic Wine Drinkers Prefer....

There are many brands of red wine that can be enjoyed by diabetics and be good for your health. Most table wines will be fine as far as sugar content goes but taste and price is also a factor.

We still want to enjoy our red wine and not have to break the bank! Here is list of recommended brands from those who are closely watching their sugar intake:

  • Sterling Vintner's Pinot Noir
  • Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Black Opal Cabernet Merlot
  • Vin de Pays d'Oc Syrah
  • Hardy's Shiraz

Sweet red wine
Sweet red wine | Source

Sweet and Dessert Red Wines

Diabetics Should Avoid!

Red dessert wines contain a high amount of sugar and are best avoided altogether or at least consumed infrequently. Sweet red wines can contain anywhere from 3 percent to a whopping 28 percent of residual sugars!

Some popular types of these red wines that are best avoided are:

  • Muscat
  • Ice wine
  • Port
  • Beaujolais Nouveau
  • Brachetto
  • Lambrusco
  • Madeira
  • Sparkling wines


The higher the alcohol content of red wine the lower the sugar content.

Diabetes and Red Wine: Resources Online

Uncork some red wine today!
Uncork some red wine today! | Source


Fagherazzi, G., Vilier, A., Lajous, M., Boutron-Ruault, M., Balkau, B., Clavel-Chapelon, F., & Bonnet, F. (2014). Wine consumption throughout life is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk, but only in overweight individuals: Results from a large female French cohort study. European Journal of Epidemiology, 29(11), 831-839. doi:10.1007/s10654-014-9955-7

Hausenblas, H. A., Schoulda, J. A., & Smoliga, J. M. (2014). Resveratrol treatment as an adjunct to pharmacological management in type 2 diabetes mellitus-systematic review and meta-analysis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 59(1), 147-159. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201400173

Understanding Red Wine's Potential Benefit for Diabetes. (2008, May 13). Science Letter, 3842. Retrieved from

Will You Try These Red Wines?

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    • profile image

      Ann 2 years ago

      I have been trying for a long time to figure out what wines to drink that i actually might like and good for me as a diabetic. This site has given me the insite i needed. Thank you!!!!#

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      White wine has many of the same active ingredients as red wine but in far smaller quantities so it is not a good choice for diabetics.

    • profile image

      Carole 3 years ago

      is white win good for type 2 diabetics?

    • Papatoo LM profile image

      Papatoo LM 4 years ago

      i've already have as this lens is on one of my favorite beverages & I just love it

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      This lens is very informative. From here, today I read about what I never ever have read before! Thanks for sharing. Honestly, we drink it hardly though.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      I absolutely will have to after reading this.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 4 years ago

      My hubby and I love the Merlot, glad to see it on the list. Our fav brand is "Gainey". I keep an eye on good food info for diabetes, we have a lot of that in our family. I pinned your lens to my healthy food board on Pinterest. Great lens topic :)

    • malenk lm profile image

      malenk lm 4 years ago

      I am not really into wine but I'm sure my husband would because he loves wines.