Red Wine: Is It Really As Good As Hitting the Gym?
I’m sure most of you have read the too-good-to-be-true news articles stating that the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine are equivalent to spending an hour at the gym. While this glorious notion absolves us of those days missed at the gym, or the calories of cocktail night with the girls, this bliss is unfortunately just short of a blissful ignorance.
Let’s be honest – the same thought crossed all of our minds when reading those articles: this seems too good to be true. It has been a well-studied phenomenon that people tend to more easily believe evidence validating something they want to be true, whereas people will be more critical of evidence validating something they dislike or want to be false. And let’s face it, we all wanted this to be true….but it’s time to get real.
The magic ingredient…….. Resveratrol
The compound in red wine claiming to be so beneficial is resveratrol, a phytoalexin found in red grapes and produced in response to injury or attack on the plant. Resveratrol has been theorized to have cardioprotective effects, explaining the conundrum of the ‘French Paradox’, in which certain populations suffer little heart disease despite consuming diets high in fat. It has also been implicated to have positive effects in that it acts as an antioxidant, and an anticarcinogenic. But I’m sure many of you are wondering a more common question: will it help me lose weight?
A 2012 study by Yoshio et al. on cell metabolism concluded that although resveratrol has been reported to improve metabolic function in metabolically abnormal humans, it did not change body composition or resting metabolic rate in nonobese women with normal glucose tolerance.
Furthermore, the beneficial effects that may be experienced do require consumption in excess, and would require plenty more than a glass of red wine to be had. In reality, you would probably have to drink closer to a whole bottle to experience the beneficial effects of resveratrol. At that point, the amount of sugar and calories you are consuming from the wine, not to mention many people are less healthful in their food choices once their inhibitions are reduced, are well outweighing the weight loss benefits of red wine.
Lastly…and this one will make us all feel a bit silly, resveratrol can also be found in high quantities in – you guessed it – grapes! That’s right, rather than chugging down a bottle of red wine, we can experience the benefits of resveratrol in a more practical way. Why not try subbing out dessert and subbing in a bowl of red grapes? Or perhaps having a freshly blended grape smoothie? There’s plenty of healthy, all-natural ways to experience the array of possible benefitsthat resveratrol holds. Have an idea? We’d love to hear from you!