You can drink all the wine that you want… But if you’re going to drink it (and I occasionally do), then lets at least be clear about why we’re doing it.
This is a drink about which there has been a lot of debate in the health world. But I think much of that debate stems from the fact that wine and alcohol are such a big part of our social lives. Even many “health experts” don’t want to risk angering people.
For better or worse, I don’t have that qualm…
What is Wine?
You probably already know what wine is.
Wine is a drink that’s made by squeezing the juice from grapes and then fermenting that juice. The process is actually slightly more complicated than that. But in general, it’s grape juice where the sugar has been changed to alcohol.
For the purposes of this article; I won’t differentiate between red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, port, or any other type of wine. They all differ a lot in terms of taste, but the health differences are really quite small in general.
Is Wine Healthy?
Countless “Health Experts” claim that a glass or two of red wine every day is great for your health. And there are lots of studies they point to in order to make this point.
However, not one of those claims is supported at all. Moderate consumption is sometimes correlated with decreased heart disease. But there’s no proof of causation, and the more likely explanation is that heart disease is decreased by a more active social life and other factors.
In addition, wine is still an alcoholic. It still leads to bad decision-making, it increases the likelihood of leaky gut, it increases inflammation, it disrupts sleep, and it inhibits the growth and re-growth of brain cells.
In other words, wine, like any alcohol, is quite toxic for your body in very small doses. So a glass of wine certainly won’t kill you, but it’s definitely making you at least fractionally less healthy.
If you want a refresher, be sure to check out this article for seven huge reasons alcohol is bad for you.
The point is, wine is not good for your body (particularly your gut and your brain). It’s fun, tastes great, and leads to a lot of awesome social experiences, but those are separate considerations.
What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?
Melissa and Dallas Hartwig: “It’s difficult for us to make a case that any alcohol – even red wine, gluten-free beer, or 100% agave tequila – makes you more healthy. But while we exclude alcohol in all forms for your Whole30 program, we aren’t saying you should never have a drink ever again. All we are saying is that if you do choose to drink, don’t try to justify it with ‘heart health’ or ‘gluten-free.’ (The fact that it’s just plain delicious and you really enjoy it is reason enough!) Just understand that the less you drink, and the less often you choose to imbibe, the healthier you’ll be.”
Mark Sisson: “I’d never recommended that people take up drinking or continue drinking, but I also don’t see it as a great evil in and of itself. The dose and frequency make the poison; it’s just that depending on a number of factors, the dose that makes alcohol a poison might be lower or higher for you than for me. If your sleep is affected or you are the least bit ‘off’ the next day, you probably surpassed your ability to effectively process it and you should factor that into your choice and approach to drinking again.”
Is Wine Paleo?
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can never drink wine. Obviously, that’s a choice for you to make. For instance, I sometimes eat corn, processed sugar, and vegetable oils when I’m eating out. I make case-by-case decisions and decide that although they’re not healthy for me, it’s alright to do sometimes.
You can make the same choice with wine. But please don’t fall for believing that it’s a healthy thing to do. Acknowledge that wine is delicious and fun, and enjoy it even more for those reasons.