We have all heard of antioxidants in wine and they are good for the heart, but does alcohol free wine retain this and are there any other health benefits of drinking alcohol free wine?
Alcohol free red wine retains the specific polyphenol antioxidant called resveratol when it is dealcoholised from fermented grapes. This means it has all the added heart health benefits of alcoholic red wine, such a lowering of blood pressure and reduction in coronary artery disease, without the adverse affects of alcohol.
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Is alcohol free wine good for your heart?
Before you start to think if alcohol free wine is good for your heart you must consider regular wine and why it is. The answer lies with something you’ve probably heard of before, antioxidants. Antioxidants are normally found in the plant kingdom. They are molecules that mop up dangerous free radicals that speed about your body harming cells and DNA. They are to be found in every health food and new health fad. Some examples of foods that are high in antioxidants are kale, goji berries and beets.
Even the type of wine can affect how many antioxidants are present. White wine is made by by pressing the grapes but before fermentation you remove the skins, stalks and the seeds. When making red wine however, you leave in the skins, stalks and seeds for the fermentation and this makes the colour, flavour and importantly for us, increasing the antioxidants. The antioxidants are are far higher concentration in the parts of the grape that don’t make the fermentation in white wines.
The antioxidants in wine are called polyphenols. In particular one called resveratrol has been the focus of research for its ability to protect us against heart disease. The thinking is resveratrol may do this by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, preventing some blood clotting and preventing damage to blood vessel walls.
A major study in a Cardiology journal was called “Significance of wine and resveratrol in cardiovascular disease: French paradox revisited”. The French paradox is the fact the population eat quite a high fat diet but have a very low level of heart disease. Moderate consumption of red wine is often cited as the reason for this disparity.
So if we accept that red wine can help reduce heart disease the question is, can alcohol free red wine deliver the same results, do the antioxidants make it through the dealcoholisation process? Alcohol free red wine is made from fermented grapes just like regular wine but the alcohol is removed, usually via vacuum distillation or filtration.
The dealcoholisation only removes the alcohol and leaves all the resveratrol in the wine. This means you can enjoy all the heart health benefits without any of the negative affects of alcohol.
Is alcohol free wine good for your general health?
The same study also highlights an anti cancer property of red wine. The antioxidant, resveratol, scavenges the superoxide free radicals that are produced in your body. They whizz around and can damage DNA in cells that can lead to cancers. The study found a 57% reduction in lung cancer and a 50% reduction in prostate cancer, which isn’t bad in anyones book.
Aside from protecting you from cancer and heart disease, the polyphenols in red wine can also help improve your gut micro bacteria. This is very in vogue with lots of faddy diets and foods trying to replicate this result and regular your gut bacteria. However there is real benefit.
As discussed above, the polyphenols, mostly resveratrol, is preserved during the dealcoholisation process so the finished alcohol free wine retains all the red wine benefits without the negative affects of alcohol.
Is alcohol free wine good for weight loss?
One of the chief negative affects of alcohol is that it is calorie dense. In terms of calories in alcohol free wine vs regular wine there is no comparison! Well there is and its stark.
|Drink||Calories (Kcal) per 100g||Calories (Kcal) per 5 fl oz standard drink|
|Regular red wine||85||125|
|Alcohol free red wine||17||25|
As you can see, the amount of calories in a glass of red wine is x5 that of alcohol free wine.
|Food or beverage||Kcal count|
|4 glasses of regular wine||500 kcal|
|4 glasses of alcohol free wine||100 kcal|
|100g donut with chocolate||452 kcal|
|2 Mars Bars||460 kcal|
To take it a step further with some context, 4 glasses of regular wine is more than 2 Mars bars. If you repeat this a free times a week the calories build significantly. It only takes approximately 3500 extra kcal to form a pound of fat. Conversely if you can have a 3500 kcal deficit you will lose a pound of fat. It seems clear that if you are a regular wine drinker and are trying to lose weight, switching to alcohol free wine either partly or in full is a non brainer!
Ive done a full blog looking at calories, sugar and weight loss with alcohol free wine so click here to read further on the topic.
For 13 reasons why you should try non alcoholic wine then follow this link to my article