The Last of the Summer Wine

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

My blood glucose levels have been creeping up a bit in the last week or two, and I can nail one of the culprits straight away: red wine. You may know that some paleo types, myself included until recently, say that red wine in moderation is absolutely fine. It probably is when you have a fully functioning pancreas. The problem is that mine has been malfunctioning for about eight years. It’s still producing insulin, but not enough to keep my blood glucose levels in the normal range. Hence the current need for metformin. If I were to return to a conventional diet, I’d be back on the insulin I’m sure.

A bit of internet research tells us that a small glass of red wine (5 oz/125ml) has 3 to 5 grams of carbs. That’s over 25 grams of carbs per bottle at the high-end, which can add up quickly if you have a couple of glasses a day. What seems to happen to me is that a couple of glasses has no ill effects for my blood sugar if it’s a one-off. However, if I have a couple glasses the next day and then the next day, my blood glucose creeps up. Worse still, the dreaded dawn phenomenon kicks in with a vengeance. I then have to do some serious fasting or hard-core exercise to get my blood sugar to come down. It’s sub-optimal. I’m damaging my body.

I had made the rational decision about four months ago that I’d have to stop this vice full-stop. Moderation was not working for me. Even one bottle spaced out over two or three days was having too ill an effect on my blood. Yet, I had some delicious Portuguese, Spanish and Italian reds in the rack which I absolutely loved. Over the last few months, it has been a bitter-sweet farewell to these old friends. There is only one half-bottle of Rioja left, and she’s going away tonight.

We’re going to see how much of an effect this has on my overall blood-glucose levels. I know it will be an overall positive having given up the booze for Lent a couple of times.

One final thing, red wine has been touted as something of a miracle elixir because it contains the anti-oxidant resveratrol. The scientific studies seem inconclusive. Wikipedia slams claims that resveratrol can improve your health. Some in the paleo community argue it’s the real deal.

Given it’s a naturally occurring phenol in a bunch of plants, I’ll take it as a supplement.