Before you set down that glass of wine…
Everyone seems to talk about how great red wine is for you. It ‘s a preventative of breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancers…pretty much every type of cancer. Red wine contains antioxidants, prevents dementia and can help treat acne.
But what about white wine?
Minus the fact that red wine makes me look like Dracula after a feeding frenzy, white wine has been my drink of choice in the last few years. But, how can a fitness and health advocate justify drinking this tasty bevy without some hard-hitting health facts about it? Other than the fact that it’s damn delicious.
Why is White Wine Different From Red Wine?
This is very exciting for me to share with you, because I actually learned about this during my wine touring in France (see it was educational…).
When red wine is made, the skins are included in the process of making the wine. In white wine processing, the skins are removed. Just like your health teacher taught you in middle school: most of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables are in the skin of the vegetable. You can now see why red wine is known for antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
Another fun fact, white wine can be made from either red or white grapes…so the colour of the grapes doesn’t directly relate to the health benefits.
A lot of the Benefits of Red Wine Are Contained in White Wine (Just Lower Doses)
During my research for this article, I kept coming across “The French Paradox”. What the hell is the French paradox?
It’s the correlation of the French people drinking 2-3 glasses of wine with meals daily and the relation to the high average life expectancy of the French. This has led many researchers to believe that daily wine (red wine in particular) consumption directly aids the cardiovascular system due to high levels of resveratrol found in wine. Not to mention the high levels of antioxidants. (Science Direct Article)
Although most of these studies are based on red wine: don’t forget that white wine has a lot of the same attributes, just in lower doses.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine had 224 patients with type-2 diabetes drink different types of alcohol with their meals. The group assigned with red wine saw the highest improvements in their heart and metabolism (better lipid and glucose control) than those who just drank water. The white wine drinkers also saw better improvements, just not as high as the red wine group.
Although I wasn’t able to actually read the study from the European Society of Cardiology (couldn’t get access to it), this article in the huffington post states that white and red wine can also improve cholesterol levels.
What are the Special Benefits of Drinking White Wine?
A study published by the university of Buffalo showed that white wine ingestion (more so than red) gave participants better lung function. Woo! FINALLY white wine wins in a category (click here to read more about the study).
Fewer Calories per Glass
Ok so this isn’t really a health benefit…but less calories isn’t a bad thing by any means.
A six-ounce glass of white wine generally contains between 107-150 calories, while a glass of red wine can range from 135 to 200 calories. Some of the lower caloric wines are pinot grigio and Riesling. Check out this info graphic at shape.com for exact calorie counts of the different types of wine.
I’m not entirely sure I believe this…because I’ve had some pretty bad hangovers after drinking white wine. I’m sure it has more to do with how many glasses I’ve had though…
White wine has lower levels of Congeners, which is a by-product of the fermentation of alcohol. Any clear alcohols have lower levels of congeners. The darker liquids aka red wines, have higher concentrations which leads to more severe headaches and hangovers. I’ll drink to that.
I’m not saying to binge drink white wine everyday. This can have the opposite effects: weight gain, liver disease, depression, skin cancer – basically much of what happens when we over-indulge in any type of alcohol.
I’m just glad when I have a ice-cold glass of pinot grigio on the patio this summer, I can think about all the health benefits.