Alcohol and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: Discover Them

Alcohol and cardiometabolic risk factors is an important matter. Cardiometabolic risk refers to the chance of having heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Researchers report that moderate drinkers are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They also report that such alcohol consumption lowers the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease among diabetics.

This study was a randomized clinical trial. It examined alcohol and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Risk Factors for Cardiometabolic Risk

  • Smoking
  • Excess weight
  • Poor diet
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol

Taking the following medications can also increase risk.

  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Thioridizine (Mellaril)

Study of Alcohol and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

The study used 224 subjects with diabetes. They were abstainers or very light drinkers. The latter had under one drink per week. They were age 40 to 75.

Researchers randomly assigned participants to one of three groups. One group had 150 mL of mineral water with dinner for two years. Another had white wine, and a third had red wine under the same conditions. They all followed a Mediterranean diet with no limit on calories.

Participants knew the study was a dietary intervention. Group sessions were led by dietician monthly for the first three months. Then held at three-month intervals for the rest of the study The focus was on the diet. Wine was not discussed. A total of 87% completed the study.

Compared to mineral water, having red wine with dinner improved many cardiometabolic factors. In particular, there was an increase in HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein (a).   Having white wine was beneficial as well. In particular, it improved measures of glycemic control.

Genetic analyses identified those who metabolized alcohol either quickly or slowly. The authors stated their findings. “We found that diabetic patients who were slow alcohol metabolizers had improved glycemic control by initiating moderate wine consumption, which suggests that alcohol may play a role in glucose metabolism.   In contrast, diabetic patients who were fast ethanol metabolizers benefited the most from the wine-induced BP-lowering effect, which suggests a mediatory role for ethanol metabolites.”

Summary: Alcohol and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

The results suggest that for well-controlled diabetics, moderate drinking with dinner decreases cardiometabolic risk. Most studies find beer, wine and spirits to have comparable health benefits.

Source: Gepner Y, et al. Effects of initiating moderate alcohol intake on cardiometabolic risk in adults with type 2 diabetes.  Ann. Intern. Med., 2015; pre-publication.   doi:10.7326/M14-1650

See Also

The Red Wine Health Myth


Fan, A.Z., et al. Association of lifetime alcohol drinking trajectories with cardiometabolic risk.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008, 93(1), 154’“161.

Katano, S., et al.  Relationship between dietary and other lifestyle habits and cardiometabolic risk factors in men.  Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2011, 3, 30.