If You Love Wine, Know What’s In It

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wineAlcohol, if consumed in excess, can be a problem for both the body and the mind. Assuming you are of legal drinking age, it’s important to know your limits and to not exceed the current recommendations of 3-5 servings a week for men and 1-3 for women. This includes wine.

And even if you are able to control the quantity, you may still be missing the mark with quality. No, I am not talking about the age of the wine, the winery it comes from or its varietal. I am talking about constituents that most wines have which increase our toxic burden and make it difficult for us to clear alcohol byproducts from the body.

Not all wines are created equal. You should always consider how the grapes were grown and produced – was the process organic, conventional, biodynamic, sulfite-free, etc.

What’s in your wine?

Did you know that most conventional wine contains added antioxidants and antiseptics such as sulfites, yeast, oak chips, copper sulfites, copper citrate, and also sugar?

Why should you avoid sulfates or sulfites?

One in three of us may not be able to process sulfur because of the combination of our genetics and the toxins we are exposed to – especially the pesticides that are being sprayed on our crops here in the U.S. That is why the Wildatarian® lifestyle looks at sulfur as one of the major things to potentially avoid in your food (and wine!) supply. All wine contains some naturally occurring sulfites. But many growers add sulfites as preservatives to ease the production and storage of their wine. The FDA even has a set limit for the amount of sulfites in wine. In my practice, Beyond Nutrition, we see many clients with impaired sulfur processing – whether genetic or environmentally related. For them, drinking wine with high sulfite levels will impair the body’s ability to detoxify, resulting in visible symptoms such as headaches, rashes and hangovers. In addition, the extra sulfite can cause inflammation. Reducing the sulfites in wine virtually eliminates the unpleasant side effects and reduces the body’s detoxification burden.

What else is in commercial wine that is not good for you?

Many winemakers add sugar and fermentation agents, making the wine susceptible to the growth of mycotoxins – mold-byproducts that are harmful to our bodies. The extra sugar also promotes inflammation and contributes to the rise in diabetes and insulin resistance. The ideal kind of wine should be tested for mycotoxins and contain only natural sugars from the actual grapes – avoiding empty calories, weight gain, crashes in energy, and hangovers.

This is why I love Dry Farm Wines. They curate wine from small, traditional growers, foregoing the use of unneeded irrigation. The wines taste amazing and do not contain added fermentation agents and sugars. Each grower tests for mycotoxins and meets a threshold for sulfites much lower than the one set by the FDA.

So if you love wine, you don’t have to give it up. Just be sure to do your research and choose wines that are of high quality, with ingredients that are grown in the most responsible way.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023