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Healthy Wine Consumption

The actual question here is: How much wine may I drink per day in order to benefit from the healthful effects without damaging internal organs with too much alcohol?

Different literature offers different answers, and there are certainly many factors that influence the blood alcohol content. The Danish Study of Wine mentions 3 - 5 glasses of wine per day. German medical experts advise that women should consume no more than 20 - 30 g alcohol per day (i. e. up to two glasses of 125 ml), men no more than 40 - 50 g (i. e. up to three glasses of 125 ml each). Important to benefit from the healthful effects is that wine is consumed moderately and regularly, and not irregularly in excess. Customarily, dry wines are preferred with meals, whereby mellower wines are generally enjoyed as a special treat in company.

How much alcohol does wine contain?

Alcohol results from the fermentation of natural sugars, glucose and fructose, contained in the grapes. The natural sugar content of the grapes varies greatly and is measured by the winemaker from the freshly fermented grape juice. The winemaker himself determines how much of the sugar is to be fermented into alcohol, resulting in dry, semi-dry or sweet wines. The higher the alcohol content of the wine, the lower the residual sugar. The alcohol content of wine ranges between 50 - 120 g/litre and is expressed in percent by volume on the label

% Volumeg Alc/litreg Alc/200 ml

Not all consumed alcohol is actually absorbed into the circulatory system. If you drink wine with meals, less alcohol is absorbed. How much alcohol is actually absorbed depends on size and weight, constitution and how quickly the wine is consumed.

In countries where wine consumption is wide-spread, less people die of coronary and circulatory diseases than elsewhere. This so-called "French Paradox", was proven by Dr. Renaud in the 1980ies and is acknowledged world-wide.

A study of the Institute for Preventive Medicine of the University of Copenhagen (published 1995) contains the findings of tests on 6051 men and 7234 women between 30 and 70 years of age over a period of 12 years. The most spectacular result was the finding that the rate of mortality decreased with the rise of wine consumption.

In other words, wine consumers live longer because the risk of cardiovascular disease is diminished. Compared to persons who consume no wine at all, the relative risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by nearly 50 % by a daily wine consumption of 3 - 5 glasses. In other words, abstainers die earlier than moderate wine consumers.

The resulting longevity is definitely caused by the moderate consumption of wine. Not only is the risk of cardiovascular disease greatly reduced, the rate of mortality in general is affected. Moderate wine consumption apparently affects other illnesses as well (Stimulation of immunities? Inhibition of cancer through anti-oxidants?).

It is certainly not the alcohol content alone, but the combination of alcohol and valuable substances contained in wine that have such a beneficial effect on health.

Many think that they can benefit only from red wine, but it has been proven that the moderate consumption of white wine has the same effect.

A study published 1996 (Dr. Belz) shows that especially the comsumption of white wine affects the cardiovascular system positively. Other studies show that the anti-oxidizing effect of white wine is just as great as that of red wine. Thus, the choice of wine is entirely free.

The "moderate consumption of wine during meals is beneficial to one's health" is an official nutrition recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published every five years by the Federal Departement of Health in the USA.

The strictly anti-alcohol convictions of the past decades have conceded to proven fact: Moderate alcohol consumption is expressly recommended for reasons of health and pleasure.

The epidemologist Dr. Ellison (Boston University) summed up the general opinion of scientists: "Abstinence is a risk factor for cardiac disease."

Wine and Diabetes

Diabetics may certainly enjoy wine, provided they study the label first. Dry wines with a maximum of 4 g residual sugar are suitable.

Wine and dieting

Most diets aimed at losing weight strictly forbid the intake of wine. However, latest research shows that the loss of weight is favourably influenced if a glass of wine is enjoyed with dinner. In general, wines drinkers are far more successful in dieting than consumers of other alcoholic beverages.

Note that wine, as all other alcoholic beverages, can be abused. Also, in case of certain illnesses or during medication, the intake of alcohol is forbidden.

In case of ANY doubt, always consult your doctor.


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