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Wine is healthy. Wine is poisonous. Both are true in their own way - it's all a question of dose. For more than a decade, a somehow particularly healthy wine could be found on shelves and wine lists. At least, that was what the label said: The "diabetic wine". This is now a thing of the past: Since 1 July 2007, this designation may no longer be used due to the EU regulation on "nutrition and health claims made on foods". The label "Suitable for diabetics - only after consulting a doctor" also had to disappear. The author followed this request - and received interesting answers.

Dr. Gert Nitzsche

Dr. Gerd Nitzsche, specialist for internal medicine and diabetologist from Offenbach am Main, explains when asked about the medical background of the official wine recommendation for diabetics: "It has always been a deception." In his view, there has never been any medical justification for this recommendation.

"Two factors of wine have an influence on the metabolism in healthy people and in diabetics: alcohol and sugar," the specialist explains. Whoever drinks a litre of white wine with 12.5 per cent alcohol consumes 4-10 grams of sugar, depending on the ageing - but at the same time 100 grams of pure alcohol. "The amount of sugar is thus less than that in half a bread roll, but the amount of alcohol fills a nice water glass with 50-percent schnapps." Diabetic wine is "thought to be sugar-centred" and completely ignores the consequences of alcohol.

First of all, according to Nitzsche, diabetics are divided into two groups: In type 2 diabetes, the metabolism is disturbed; the concentration of the hormone insulin in the blood, which is necessary to break down sugar from food, actually increases in early stages. Due to poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise as well as genetic factors, the receptors on the cell walls become increasingly insensitive to insulin. The islet cells of the pancreas must therefore produce more and more insulin to normalise the blood sugar level. At some point, they no longer manage to provide sufficient amounts of insulin to keep the levels within the normal range. Blood glucose levels rise even though large amounts of insulin appear to be circulating in the body. If left untreated and poorly controlled, this can lead to serious damage in the long term.

Type 1 diabetes has a different cause: the islet cells of the pancreas stop working due to an autoimmune reaction; insulin production stops. The result: the blood sugar level rises massively. From now on, the missing insulin must be supplied by the patient himself.

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