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Is there really an anti-diabetes drink?

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There are a lot of drinks out there that can raise your blood sugar — soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, diet drinks and, of course, anything alcoholic. So what can you drink without sending your blood sugar soaring and aggravating or increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes?

Well, there’s always water. But that gets boring after a while. Luckily, there is a more interesting option….

It’s a drink that could help you lose weight and balance your blood sugar. In fact, it may be the one-two punch you need to finally knock your diabetes into submission.

But you should know, it’s a little unusual. You won’t find it at a local quick mart, but you may find it at your local health food store. It’s non-alcoholic berry wine.

The anti-diabetes drink

Researchers from the University of Illinois gave non-alcoholic berry wine to obese, diabetic mice and it managed their diabetes more effectively than the prescription diabetes medication sitagliptin (also known as Januvia).

The wine was made from 70 percent fermented blackberries and 30 percent fermented blueberries. The alcohol was removed through a process called rotoevaporation, where it’s evaporated and replaced with water.

According to researchers, this drink can make a mark on diabetes because it contains anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid found in berries and other fruits. Anthocyanins have been shown to lower blood sugar, make your body more responsive to insulin and increase insulin production — and these things are a godsend when you’re dealing with diabetes.

Why bother with berry wine?

You may be wondering why researchers gave the mice berry wine rather than just berry juice. After all, berry juice contains anthocyanins too. So why put themselves through the extra hassle of removing the alcohol?

Well, the answer is simple: fermentation. Wine is fermented and juice isn’t. And fermentation adds to the health benefits of the beverage. More specifically, fermentation increases the concentration of those anthocyanins I was telling you about. That means it turns berries into an even more powerful weapon against your diabetes.

But you know what’s really great about drinking berry wine? It’s a perfect alternative to alcohol. You can enjoy a few celebratory glasses of wine without sacrificing your health.

Unfortunately, stores still offer a slim selection of non-alcoholic wines, let alone non-alcoholic wines made from berries. There is one brand that’s available at certain Whole Foods stores. It’s called PureBlue Unwine, and it contains antioxidant-rich blueberries and black currants.

So, if you can find it, grab a glass and toast to a balanced blood sugar and a healthy future. If you can’t find a suitable berry wine in a store near you, try a berry-flavored kombucha. It’s fermented and filled with antioxidants too.

  1. H. Johnson et al. “Alcohol-free fermented blueberry–blackberry beverage phenolic extract attenuates diet-induced obesity and blood glucose in C57BL/6J mice.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2016.
  2. “PureBlue UnWine with Wild Blueberry: A Non-Alcoholic Wine Substitute.” The Kitchn. http://www.thekitchn.com. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
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