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Moderate alcohol consumption after meals can decrease levels of insulin

  • Insulin is a hormone that allows blood glucose to provide energy to most of the body's cells.
  • A lack of insulin can effectively cause some cells to "starve," leading to serious health consequences such as diabetes.
  • New research shows that drinking a moderate amount of white wine on its own after a meal can cause levels of insulin to drop almost immediately.

Insulin is a hormone that allows blood glucose to provide energy to most of the body's cells. New research published in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows that drinking a moderate amount of white wine on its own after a meal can cause levels of insulin to drop almost immediately.

"A small to moderate amount of alcohol is accepted and indeed often recommended as beneficial to one's cardiac health," said Anna Kokavec, a research psychologist affiliated with La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia and first author of the study. "However, only a limited number of studies have assessed the effect of consuming readily available alcoholic products on major processes in the human body."

Eating foods high in carbohydrates will normally increase blood-glucose levels for several hours, which in turn, encourages insulin production by the pancreas. Insulin enables glucose, the body's chief source of energy, to gain entry into most of the body's cells located outside of the brain. A lack of insulin can effectively cause some cells to "starve," leading to serious health consequences such as diabetes.

"We know that drinking alcohol can affect the body's production of insulin," said Kokavec. "However, researchers in the past have obtained mixed results and it is only now becoming clear that the effect of alcohol on insulin may depend on the presence or absence of food. Given the discrepancy in the insulin data, the association between food and insulin production, and the important role of insulin in energy production
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13-Nov-2003


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