Benefits of red wine?
December 4, 2005 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I think most of us have heard that 1-2 glasses of red wine a day is healthy for you. Is there any reason that one bottle, once a week would have a negative affect?

Essentially, it's the same amount of wine in a shorter frame of time. I usually drink plenty of water as I go, meaning that the dehydration wouldn't be a factor. Would I still recieve the same amount of benefit from it, or am I just going to have to accept there's no healthy way to get drunk?
posted by dflemingdotorg to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
IANAD but I think larger amounts of alcohol are hard on the liver. I'm not sure what quantifies as larger but maybe a bottle of wine does.
posted by 6550 at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2005


One difference that comes to mind is that one of the adverse health effects of alcohol is that it is metabolized to acetaldehyde, a highly toxic carcinogen. Acetaldehyde is then converted to acetic acid.

So consuming a lot of alcohol at once may produce more acetaldehyde than your body can quickly metabolize.
posted by justkevin at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2005


Following on this logic, why not have four bottles of wine in one sitting once a month? Or eight every two months?..
posted by clevershark at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2005


it's difficult to find full text articles doing a quick search on google scholar, but this study describes moderate consumptin as 1-21 glasses a week. if those are 125ml glasses then that's over 3 bottles a week (which pegs me as a moderate drinker - hurray!).

on the other hand, whether pattern of consumption (rather than quantity) is important is going to depend on how it works. the papers discuss certain checmicals (also found in fruit). so the question is probably "can the body store phenolic acids and polyphenols?" (if it can, bingeing is ok; if it can't you need a regular dose).

this study might indicate that you piss this stuff away pretty quickly, and also has the ominous phrase "the pathway becomes saturated readily". but i don't understand it enough to be anything other than guessing.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2005


funny question ; )
it's very basic, you can drink a small mount of wine daily regular, but you can't sum up each workday's allowed small amount of wine for a nice saturday coma
alcohol is rather unhealthy, the good things in wine (flavanoids..) are best consumed regularly and big amounts don't make sense
(taking 5 vitamin pills at once every monday could even be dangerous)
posted by suni at 9:45 AM on December 4, 2005


hmmm. if you had one bottle on a friday night (say) and then drank a third of a bottle each night the rest of the week you'd still fit into "moderate", get your party fix, and the health benefits... :o)

in other words, you need to drink more.... (ianad!)
posted by andrew cooke at 9:48 AM on December 4, 2005


Getting drunk is unhealthy. While 21 glasses a week might be "moderate," it's never going to be healthy if you're pushing your liver beyond it's natural capacity, which is what you do when you get drunk. Of course, pretty much everyone in the developed world has unhealthy consumption habits, so that's not necessarily cause to not get drunk. You just don't have health as a convenient excuse.
posted by scottreynen at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2005


Have you seen this? Google News on a new study that came out yesterday.
posted by xoe26 at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2005


IANAD. Your body might be able to handle the overload, but I think you would saturate your system with the beneficial chemicals you're ingesting, and the excess you consume in that one sitting would be wasted. When I take too much vitamin-B, my urine turns a flourescent colour as my body gets rid of the excess. With wine, you run the risk of more detrimental side effects than just a glow-in-blacklight toilet, so I'd suggest temperance.
posted by Mozai at 10:41 AM on December 4, 2005


I think that the basic answer is that there are certain chemicals - antioxidants and the like - that are found in red wine that are beneficial to have in the blood. (Actually, some studies have found that there is no benefit to de-alcholized wine, and others that a beer a day can be good for you, so I should say that the alcohol, and not just other compounds, is of some benefit.) The point is that you want to have these present on a regular basis, over the long term. That doesn't happen if you only drink a large amount once in a while - you eliminate whatever beneficial compounds there are after a short time, and then don't replenish them.

Also, these studies have pointed out that the benefits of the good chemicals (maybe including alcohol) in wine are outweighed by the harm that alcohol does if you have more than a glass or two a day (so alcohol is only good in low doses - at high doses, it's toxic enough to kill you, don't forget). I would imagine, as others have said, that the benefits of these chemicals are outweighed by the stress one puts on ones liver by what is essentially binge drinking.

In short, it's amount small amounts on a regular basis. You can't make up for that by drinking heavily on an infrequent basis (just as you wouldn't want to throw back a whole bottle of antibiotics at once, and consider your job done).
posted by Dasein at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2005


As Dasein says. There's that ongoing puzzle how the French can eat rich food with lots of meat and dairy and still not get fat or have very much cardiovascular trouble, and a theory is that they always accompany their meals with wine. But that's a glass or two with a meal, for most people - not a weekly binge.
posted by zadcat at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2005


Getting drunk is unhealthy. While 21 glasses a week might be "moderate," it's never going to be healthy if you're pushing your liver beyond it's natural capacity, which is what you do when you get drunk.

The feeling of drunkenness is caused by the ethenol's effect on the brain, and has nothing to do with the liver.
posted by delmoi at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2005 [1 favorite]


Come on, delmoi - by the time you're drunk in the head, you're drunk in the liver. It's precisely because you've saturated your liver that you're not metabolizing fast enough to keep your head sober.

(And isn't it acetaldehyde in the brain that causes drunkenness? Ah, nevermind, it is ethanol.)
posted by metaculpa at 12:48 PM on December 4, 2005


As Dasein says. There's that ongoing puzzle how the French can eat rich food with lots of meat and dairy and still not get fat or have very much cardiovascular trouble, and a theory is that they always accompany their meals with wine. But that's a glass or two with a meal, for most people - not a weekly binge.

I don't know if french people drink wine everyday, really. I can think of maybe only one or two persons I know who do. My guess is french food is cooked is a more healthy way than others? (olive oil instead of grease overload, better and fresh products, meals at home and less fast food take aways).
posted by Sijeka at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2005


metaculpa, this wikipedia article implies that ethanol goes directly to the brain via the blood; it doesn't require any failure of the liver (i understand you to be saying that you get drunk when alcohol overleads the liver and so "leaks out" to the brain, which doesn't seem to be the case).
posted by andrew cooke at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2005 [1 favorite]


the french paradox (=daily wine outweighs fat food) is not really true cos french food is not particularly unhealthy
posted by suni at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2005 [1 favorite]


Thank you, everyone. Honestly, it was mostly a muse that I had in the hopes that there was scientific information behind it. I do enjoy the 1-2 glasses of wine a day, usually, and will continue to enjoy a full bottle when appropriate.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:33 AM on December 5, 2005


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