Effects of red wine polyphenols and alcohol on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile: a randomized clinical trial

Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):200-6. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.022. Epub 2012 Sep 3.


Background & aims: Epidemiological data suggest that moderate red wine consumption reduces cardiovascular mortality and the incidence of diabetes. However, whether these effects are due to ethanol or to non-alcoholic components of red wine still remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of moderate consumption of red wine, dealcoholized red wine, and gin on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile.

Methods: Sixty-seven men at high cardiovascular risk were randomized in a crossover trial. After a run-in period, all received each of red wine (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, and gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 week periods, in a randomized order. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), plasma lipoproteins, apolipoproteins and adipokines were determined at baseline and after each intervention.

Results: Fasting glucose remained constant throughout the study, while mean adjusted plasma insulin and HOMA-IR decreased after red wine and dealcoholized red wine. HDL cholesterol, Apolipoprotein A-I and A-II increased after red wine and gin. Lipoprotein(a) decreased after the red wine intervention.

Conclusions: These results support a beneficial effect of the non-alcoholic fraction of red wine (mainly polyphenols) on insulin resistance, conferring greater protective effects on cardiovascular disease to red wine than other alcoholic beverages. www.isrctn.org: ISRCTN88720134.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood
  • Aged
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Fasting
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Adipokines
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Polyphenols
  • Triglycerides
  • Homocysteine
  • Ethanol
  • Folic Acid
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • Vitamin B 12

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN88720134