Red or White Wine: Which is More Fit?
You’ve probably heard of the potential health benefits of drinking red wine. Lowered risk of stroke sounds like a nice reward for sipping on your favorite merlot.
One of the most common questions I get asked is about the effects of alcohol whether or not it’s OK to drink alcohol. For the most part, it’s totally fine to have a couple of drinks every now and then. Alcohol is basically liquid sugar, though, so it’s best to practice moderation. Drinking too much can definitely slow down your progress towards accomplishing your fitness goals.
This article will review what you need to know about red and white wine including how they’re made, what to watch out for, and which is healthier.
What is Wine?
Wine is made from fermented grape juice.
Grapes are picked, crushed, and placed in buckets or vats to ferment. The process of fermentation turns the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol. Fermentation can occur naturally, but sometimes winemakers add yeast to help control the process.
The crushed grapes are also put through a press to remove the skins and other sediments. When the grapes are pressed before fermentation then the wine becomes white. If the skins left on the grapes they give the wine a deep red color.
It’s the winemaking process that gives each its color.
After fermentation, the wine is aged in stainless steel or oak barrels until it’s ready to be bottled.
What’s the Difference Between Red and White Wine?
The main difference between white and red wine is the color which comes from the grape skins. White wines have the seeds and stems removed after the grapes are crushed but before fermentation, while red wines fermented with the seeds and stems along with the juice.
The grape skins give red wine its signature pigment and the tannins (or legs) that can be seen when you swirl a glass of it. Allowing the grape juice to ferment with the skins and seeds results in a red wine that has many distinctive health compounds like resveratrol which lowers risk for heart disease and cancer. White wine also has some of these healthy plant compounds but generally in much lower amounts.
The Health Benefits of Red Wine
Because it ferments with grape skins and seeds, red wine is very high in plant compounds that deliver a variety of health benefits. A lot of research has specifically highlighted the health benefits of drinking moderate amounts of red wine.
- Reduced risk of heart disease. More than 100 studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with a 25–40% reduction in the risk of heart disease.
- Lowered risk of death from heart disease or stroke. In a Danish study, people who drank low-to-moderate amounts of wine were less likely to die from heart disease or stroke, compared to people who drank beer or other spirits.
- Lowered risk of death. Many population studies have shown wine drinkers to have lower risks of death from all causes.
- Reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Light-to-moderate drinkers of wine or other alcohols also have lower risks of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, compared to non-drinkers.
- Lowered risk of osteoarthritis. At least one study found that wine drinkers had a lower risk of the disease, compared to beer drinkers.
- Lower risk of some cancers. Observational studies suggest that wine drinkers may have lower rates of lung cancer.
Drawbacks of Drinking Wine
The health benefits of red wine can easily be negated by drinking too much. In excess amounts, any form of alcohol can cause critical damage to organs like your kidneys or liver. Not to mention wangover (that’s a wine hangover) is the worst. Drinking too much may also increase your risk of contracting infectious diseases because it may weaken your immune system.
Beyond that, drinking too much can also really hurt your fitness goals. Wine has about 125 calories per glass so drinking it has a negative effect on your total calorie intake. In comparison, tequila has about 65 calories per serving while rum and vodka both have about 95.
Your body has to work really hard to digest and metabolize any kind of alcohol. Drinking alcohol causes fat burning and protein synthesis to basically stop altogether.
If you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle, drinking alcohol will slow your progress.
Red wine is better for you than white wine because of the healthy compounds which are extracted from the skins and seeds during the fermentation process.
Drinking too much is dangerous but is OK in moderation. Just remember to limit yourself to one or two glasses (that’s 5oz) of wine in any night.
It’s best to avoid alcohol as much as possible, especially when you’re trying to lose weight, prep for a competition, or get ready for bikini season. If you are going to drink then focus on staying hydrated before and after going out. To burn off the excess calories from the booze and mixers, try this full bodyweight workout.