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FEBRUARY 27, 2003     PAGE FIVE      
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                                Wine: Yes or No? Questions & Answers


                               "Learning is not compulsory; but then neither is survival."
                                                               W. Edwards Deming

My doctor suggested a glass of wine at least several times a week. Is this something I can make fit into my low carb plan and are there really benefits?

Thanks,
Daniel Bartson


Wine

Wine usually contains about 2 grams of carbs per 3-ounce serving. (A sweeter wine might contain as much as 5 grams per serving, so stick with the drier wines if possible.) However, remember that when given the choice, your body will burn alcohol for energy before it burns fat. So while alcohol is in your system, no fat will be burned. Since alcohol isn't stored as glycogen, you immediately get back into ketosis after the alcohol is used up. It's usually a poor idea to try to drink wine or any other alcohol during induction, but later, most people can certainly handle occasional wine or other alcohols. But are there benefits to drinking wine? It does appear there are:

A 1998 study by the original “French Paradox” researcher, Serge Renaud, offers more evidence that moderate wine consumption is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer among men. The findings (published in Epidemiology, March, 1998) were based on a large study of middle aged men in eastern France. Daily, moderate drinkers who consumed mostly wine were compared to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Renaud and colleagues from the University of Bordeaux found that moderate wine consumption (2-3 glasses a day) was associated with a 30% reduction in the death rate from all causes; a 35% percent reduction in death rates from cardiovascular disease; and an 18-24% reduction in death rates from cancer.

How Wine Works: Emerging Research on Mealtime Alcohol Consumption:

A new study from researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. identifies a mechanism for how alcohol favorably effects arterial muscle cells. According to Wilhelm Vetter, M.D., and colleagues, alcohol, when consumed around mealtime, reduces the proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMC) within the arteries. SMC growth is a key element in the develop-ment of atherosclerosis, which commonly leads to heart attacks and strokes.

The study found that the ingestion of alcohol. equivalent to two glasses of wine or three beers, with a high-fat meal resulted in a 20% decrease in the growth of arterial muscle cells.

Wine consumed with meals is absorbed more slowly, and thus has a prolonged effect on blood platelets at a time when they are under the influence of alimentary lipids known to increase their reactivity.

But there may be another reason for these benefits:

Some researchers have attributed this cardioprotective quality to the significant amounts of resveratrol naturally present in grape skin. Resveratrol protects grapes and some other plants against fungal infections. It has been shown previously to have a number of potentially beneficial properties, including antioxidant, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

An Israeli study by Fuhrman et al, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that drinking red wine with meals resulted in a 20% reduction in the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol oxidation. A Dutch study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that alcohol consumed with a meal may prevent blood clotting.

Women Wine Drinkers Have Fewer Kidney Stones:

A new study from Harvard University researcher Gary Curhan and colleagues, using more than 81,000 women participants drawn from the Nurses’ Health Study, found that an increase in fluid intake significantly reduces risk for kidney stones and that risk reduction was greatest for wine compared with other beverages. Out of 17 beverages, including tea, coffee, juice, milk and water, wine was associated with the highest reduction in risk - 59%.

But is it only RED wine that offers benefits?

In a word, no. A study presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Atlanta on May 20 concludes that while both types of wine bolster lung function, white wine seems to have a more positive effect on lung health.

These results, from a study of 1,555 adults, add to evidence from years of studies on wine and the heart that drinking wine can be beneficial to your health, according to lead researcher Holger J. Schunemann, M.D., Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. He said that "People who drank white wine had greater lung function than those who consumed red wine, but both groups of wine drinkers had greater lung function than non-wine drinkers."

He also noted that white wine has a high level of antioxidant molecules called flavonoids, which may help account for the wine’s protective effect.

So to sum it all up...

It certainly appears there may be clear benefits to moderate drinking of wine, and if you find that it's not causing your weight loss to stall, nor kicking off cravings, then that glass of wine with dinner might be just what the doctor ordered.





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