Top Myths and Misconceptions about Wine

For some of us, nothing lightens the load of a demanding day better than kicking off our shoes and calling it in for the night with our favorite glass of wine. Aside from the soothing comfort that wine can bring, our evening companion can also give us a dose of healthy benefits. But just how much? And is red wine really better for us than white wine?

To help clear up some of the health mysteries that surround wine, we get to the bottom of what's really swirling in your wine glass in one of our recent “Get The Skinny” segments.

Myth: Only red wine has health benefits.

The Reality: If you’re a white wine lover, you don’t need to sweat it thinking that your daily glass doesn’t carry any health benefits. The truth is, both red and white wines – as well as all types of alcohol – are linked to a decrease in heart disease. Plus, a moderate intake of red or white wine is also linked to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.  

Red wine does have even more health benefits, however, thanks to the antioxidants and phytochemicals in the grape skins and seeds that are soaked in the barrels with red wine.

Myth: White wine is high in sugar and calories.

The Reality: Again, for those of you who love white wine, you can be rest assured to know that ounce-for-ounce, red wine and white wine have about the same amount of carbs and calories, and both are very low in sugar.

A five-ounce pour of red or white has approximately 125 calories and four to eight grams of carbs.

Q: Are sulfites responsible for red wine headaches?

A: The reality is that it’s usually not sulfites that cause a wine headache. In addition to white wines, a variety of foods like dried fruits often contain as many sulfites, yet they generally don’t cause a reaction.

What’s most likely to blame for those headaches are tannins, the antioxidant-rich compounds found in the skins and seeds of grapes. Older wines tend to be less tannic, so look for older vintages if you’re prone to headaches.

Plus, remember to stay well-hydrated and keep in mind that “moderate” wine intake is defined as no more than one glass daily for women and two for men.

Q: What’s the difference between “organic” wine and wine that’s “made with organic grapes”?

A: When the entire winemaking process is certified organic, the wine can be labeled as organic wine. However, if the grapes are organically grown, but the wine has elements that aren’t allowed in organic wine (e.g. sulfites), it can be labeled only as “made with organic grapes.”

Q: Do organic wines, and wines made with organic grapes have more antioxidants?

A: Since the soil is rich in vitamins and minerals, and the grapes aren’t treated with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, it’s highly likely that organic wines have more antioxidants. But a wine’s antioxidant and nutritional benefits will depend on the individual farming.

For more details on this topic, watch Molly’s “Get The Skinny” segment on WGNO New Orleans.                                                                      

Molly Kimball

Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a Sports and Lifestyle Dietitian, Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics by the American Dietetic Association.  She... read more