Let Wine Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Vicki on February 10, 2017

Are you sticking with your New Years resolutions so far? Statistics show that 25% of us who make resolutions have given them up within only a week, so if you’re still with it you’re a star. Either way, wine is here to help. For one thing, wine is not a high calorie drink so if losing weight is your game, wine can be on your side. Plus, scientists have found a ton of random health benefits of drinking wine in moderation, so they’ve given you more help in sticking with your health goals. Hey, I’m here to be your resolution Sherpa, so keep reading.

Calorie Counts – Calories in wine come mainly from the alcohol, which packs 7 calories in every gram. Sugar of course has calories at 4 per gram. So a sweet wine high in alcohol – think Port or Banyuls – will have the highest calorie count. But then we drink less of them. In general, 6 ounces of a dry wine at 15% alcohol will run 175 calories while one at only 12% alcohol will run you about 115. And remember, these aren’t the “diet” versions of wine, these are the wines!  Below is a list of specific examples. The differences between French and U.S. wines comes from the longer U.S. growing season that results in higher sugar content, making more alcohol.  Note that the lower counts in the high sugar (Sauternes) and high alcohol (Port) wines come from the smaller pours.  Here are some wines with their calorie counts.

Brut (dry) Champagne – 124 (5 oz.)
Merlot – 125 (6 oz.)
Doux (sweet) Champagne – 175 (5 oz.)
Pinot Noir – French, 120; U.S., 140 (6 oz.)
German dry Riesling – 110 (6 oz.)
Cabernet Sauvignon – French, 160; U.S. 175 (6 oz.)
German sweet Riesling – 160 (6 oz.)
Australian Shiraz – 190 (6 oz.)
Sauvignon Blanc 120 (6 oz.)
California 16% Zinfandel – 190 (6 oz.)
Sauternes – 90 (2 oz.)
Ruby Port – 103 (2 oz.)

Health benefits  –  Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, recommended wine as part of a healthy diet and a whole host of remedies — a disinfectant for wounds, to reduce pain in childbirth, to cure diarrhea, and fight fatigue.  Over the centuries wine was used to fight all kinds of maladies.  Now, researchers are finding out more and more about the health benefits of wine and busting some myths in the process.  More health benefits are in this earlier post too.

First, let’s talk about resveratrol. This is an antioxidant found in the skins and seeds of grapes. It’s found in blueberries, raspberries, bilberries and peanuts too. Scientists believe its purpose in the plants is to fight off bacteria and fungi, and to protect the plants from the radiation of ultraviolet light. It makes sense that it would similarly benefit any animal or human consuming these foods. And so it does. Red wine is made by letting the fermenting juice stay with the grape skins for a few weeks, imparting the color, aromas, flavors and yes, resveratrol, from the skins into the wine. White wines are not made with this skin contact so the resveratrol is not carried into the drink. So the studies below mostly focus on red wines.

Keep in mind that all of these medical reports basically have a big warning sign attached, reminding us that moderate drinking – one drink per day for women and two for men – is critically important. Heavy drinking will not lead to the health benefits in these findings, or at all. So with that caveat, here is the fun part.

1. Protection Against Lung Cancer – Giving up smoking? Let wine help your lungs out even more. Researchers have found that drinking wine at one glass or so per day was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer. However, hard liquor and beer consumption were associated with a higher risk of this cancer.

2.  Reduction in Risk of Depression – Spanish researchers found that moderate wine consumption at the rate of two to seven glasses per week “was significantly associated with lower rates of depression.” However, high alcohol consumption is associated with increased rates of depression.

3.  Reduced Risk of Liver Disease – I know, shocking right? Moderate amounts of wine were found to lead to reductions in fatty liver disease in a study by researchers at San Diego School of Medicine. And the most amazing part is that there is a four times greater protective effect for wine consumption than for consumption of beer and hard liquor. However, heavy alcohol consumption does lead to fatty liver disease, so keep consumption moderate.

4.  Protection Against Prostate Cancer – This one is pretty amazing. Researchers found that men between ages 40 and 64 who drank four to seven glasses of red wine per week are “only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as men who did not drink red wine.”

5.  And keep reading for more great health news stories in my earlier post.

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