Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wine and chocolate lower diabetes risk


A perennial topic around Valentine’s Day is the health benefits of wine and chocolate, and this year we have new evidence that they may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Credit is given to high levels of anthocyanins, nutritional antioxidants found in red wine, berries, and of course dark chocolate. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give these foods their color, unlike resveratrol which also comes from the skins of wine grapes.

The study, from the University of East Anglia and Kings College London, consisted of a food questionnaire of 2000 women. Those with the highest intake of anthocyanin-rich foods had lower insulin resistance – a marker for type 2 diabetes - and better blood glucose regulation. But the researchers took it a step further, and documented that this group also had lower levels of markers of inflammation, believed to be associated with a wide range of age-related diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. Sweet news for your sweetheart indeed.

As with all population-based studies of this type, there are a few caveats. For one, dark chocolate high in anthocyanins and flavonoids is not what you would typically find in an assortment of confections, and high sugar or butterfat content may cancel out much of the benefits. And with wine of course, it is consumption in moderation that is the key to healthy drinking. And perhaps just as important, food intake surveys of this type may show more about what unhealthy foods are not being consumed, not just what is.

I’m looking for studies on the benefit of giving roses with chocolate and wine (I’m sure it has to contribute something) but for now we will have to take that on faith.