There have been a lot of contradictory headlines over the years, some even suggesting that a glass of red wine could be beneficial, while many others have advised us to steer clear. An increasing number of scientific studies have made it crystal clear that alcohol is bad news for our health.
Wine and heart health
Past research has suggested that an occasional glass of wine may be beneficial. For example, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease found that moderate consumption of red wine could be beneficial due to its antioxidative components.
However, a recent research, presented to the British Science festival, debunks this myth. The research highlights that it’s not the alcohol in red wine that is beneficial, it’s the grapes. Rich in antioxidants called polyphenols which help to support the heart and blood vessels and as well as cholesterol.
Crucially, the research also found that while drinking a moderate amount of wine may have benefits, moderate consumption of beer, cider or spirits may increase the risk of heart disease by 10 per cent.
So, what does this mean? A glass of wine a day may well keep the doctor away, just make that a glass of non-alcoholic wine.
What wine does to your brain
As teenagers most of us were probably told that too much alcohol would kill our brain cells. But new research shows that there may be some truth behind the warning.
A Oxford University study found that even small amounts of alcohol can cause brain damage. The study was based on a cohort of over 25,000 British participants with an average age of 54, who underwent brain scans that measured the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and brain health.
The researchers found that over time, alcohol consumption tracked with a decrease in brain grey matter. On top of this, binge drinking alcohol posed an additional negative effects on brain structure.
Interestingly, the researchers did not find any difference when comparing the type of alcohol consumed, supporting the hypothesis that it is the ethanol in alcoholic drinks that causes the damage.
How wine impacts your sleep
Drinking wine is often associated with helping us sleep and researchers in Italy have discovered why.
They found that wine grapes contain the sleepy hormone, melatonin. So, you’re not imagining that drowsy feeling. It does exist. If you’re sipping on Nebbiolo, Merlot or Cabernet, sleepiness will hit quicker. These grapes pack a stronger melatonin punch.
But while a glass of wine may help you fall asleep, it won’t help you stay asleep.
Alcohol often stops us from falling into the restful and restorative sleep that our body and mind needs to recharge. Without a deep sleep, the next day can be a nightmare. Nothing’s fun when you’re tired and groggy.
Swapping your usual wine for a non alcoholic wine is a good way to avoid that. Sleep easy knowing you’re giving your body the rest it deserves.
How much sugar is in a glass of wine?
Alarmingly, wine makers who produce traditional alcoholic wine are not required to add nutritional information such as sugar content and calories. So the truth is, we don't really know how much sugar there is in traditional wine.
But, when it comes to alcohol free wine, wine-makers are required to add sugar and calories. We also include these on our site so when you are buying non-alcoholic wine from us, you can confidently make choices in line with your health goals.
On top of this, Food Standards Australia stipulate that when using the low sugar label, a beverage must contain 2.5g or less sugar per 100g. Likewise, the low calorie label can only be used when a drink is 19 calories of less per 100g. At Sans Drinks we take these guidelines very seriously, so when shopping in these sections you can be sure what you're gettig.
Excess sugar in general has been linked to the increased risk of health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also play havoc with your skin – hello breakouts – and cause weight gain. Simply put, it’s not your friend.
So, what’s the best wine choice for general wellbeing? Low sugar wine and low alcohol wines (1.15% ABV or less) offer all the enjoyment of drinking without the risk of feeling ill, in more ways than one.
Swapping your usual favorite for an alcohol free version doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. With so many options available there’s something that will have you coming back for more.
Five low sugar drinks that will hit the spot
The sugar: 2g per 100ml
What customers are saying: "I really liked this Sparkling Wine, it tasted pretty close to the real thing, will definitely buy again, will be lovely on a warm summer's night."
The sugar: 1.9g per 100ml
What customers are saying: "I love Rose and this is amazingly close to Rose's I used to drink, you forget that it's not alcoholic."
The sugar: 2.4g per 100ml
What customers are saying: "The little spritz and a slight but well balanced sour note make this a really refreshing and very tasty drink. As a sour beer drinker, I really enjoyed this."
The sugar: 1.3g per 100ml
What customers are saying: "FINALLY..... a 0% sauv blanc that tastes almost like a sauv blanc! I'm so excited to be writing this review. After trying many, many whites that all tasted like sugary grape juice, this is the first one that actually holds resemblance to a sauv blanc.
It had a beautiful zesty aroma when I opened the bottle and I was so very intrigued. Upon first taste, I discovered there was a little depth to this wine - and I am enjoying it!"
The sugar: 2.0g per 100g
What customers are saying: "I've been sampling a few.... and Lautus is the most flavoursome, with a satisfying mouthfeel via a pleasant tannin level, yet with less of that sweet edge/finish that some of the reds have. HIGHLY recommend! I'm getting a case!"
I am not a health professional, this blog post is based on publicly available/published information. Please refer to the sources below for research details and always discuss any concerns with your health with your GP.
Sources: National Library of Medicine: Red wine: A drink to your heart - Journal of Cardiovascular Disease / Alcohol-free wine maybe just as good for your heart as real wine - onmanorama - September 2021/ National Library of medicine: Drink types unmask the health risks associated with alcohol intake - Prospective evidence from the general population / Wiley Online library: Melatonin content in grape: myth or panacea? / CNN - Drinking any amount of alcohol causes damage to the brain, study finds.