My friend and colleague Michael Cervin recently penned an article for IntoWine.com, titledThe Angry Liver, highlighting the health hazards of my chosen second career – namely, kind of sort of drinking for a living. He asked me to share some thoughts on the matter, which you can read in the finished article.
While most of Michael’s focus is on the hits that our livers are potentially taking by being attached to the bodies of those of us who have decided to make professional wine-related stuff our living, my quote in his article has more to do with overall health, in the form of a warning that many wine lovers conveniently like to forget: wine contains alcohol, and alcohol consumption is empty calorie intake.
This begs the question “how many empty calories?!??,” the answer to which is “it depends.” Generally, for most dry and sparkling wines, the answer is about 100 to 130 calories per 5oz glass. WebMD has a nice little infographic on this (see inset pic – click to embiggen), as well as the following helpful reminder:
“…alcohol also delivers empty calories and not many nutrients… The higher the ABV, the higher the calorie count.”
I would revise this slightly to “the higher the ABV and sugar content, the higher the calorie count” – meaning that sweeter wines (especially those with more booze, like Port) will potentially hit your waistline harder.
At this point in any such related discussion, I usually get asked “how the hell do you not weigh 300 lbs?!?” The answer is a combination of anxious temperament, genetics, and making exercise a priority (especially as the salt-and-pepper hair thing becomes more and more prominent). The moral of this short story is that wine is not a zero-sum game: there are likely several health benefits to moderate consumption, and there are definitely detriments to over-consumption (particularly to your liver and waistline).
Another quick-hit this week to let you know that I was recently a guest on MyFitnessRx.net‘s Running episode, talking about some recent fun/interesting health-related facts/studies pertaining to our favorite adult libation.
You can check out the specific segment in the embed below. Here’s how you can check out the My Fitness Rx show on a regular basis:
But… you should know that, according to research very recently published in the journal Nature, our old pal resveratrol (a compound found in red wine, among other things) might not be the key to everlasting youth.
Anywaaaaaay… long-story-made-short, a 2006 Harvard study once found that resveratrol might increase production of proteins called sirtuins, which were found at the time to possible prolong the lives of obese mice. Good news for you red-wine-drinking obese mice out there, or so it was thought at the time.
Turns out, according to the findings being published in Nature, the initial study might have been flawed, and all this stuff around red wine/resveratrol/sirtuins prolonging life might have been a bit overblown. Bad news for you red-wine-drinking obese mice out there. And maybe also for GlaxoSmithKline, who paid over $700 million for the company that the initial study’s author David Sinclair founded to make a drug from the substance.
NPR.org has a great detailed report on all of the above, embedded below for your listening pleasure. I suggest relaxing with a glass of red wine while you listen to it – not because the red wine will make you live longer, but because the relaxing might help you live longer (or if not, at least help you enjoy the moment a bit more than usual).
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