Health Risks of Drinking Too Much White Wine

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A group of friends are drinking glasses of wine. (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You may have heard that drinking a glass of wine per day is good for you. A 1992 study found an association between moderate wine drinking and lower risk of heart disease. The key is moderation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink per day for women and two for men. Additionally, according to the Mayo Clinic, heart disease benefits may be tied to red wine. However, these benefits have not been proved in any studies using white wine. A 2002 study supported by the National Institutes of Health, did suggest a link between moderate white wine consumption and lung capacity. But too much of a good thing can be unhealthy.

Nutritional Information

The amount of alcohol, and therefore calories, can vary among bottles of the same brand and type of wine and within the same shipment. However, on average, there are about 20 to 25 calories per ounce of white wine. One serving is 5 oz., or 100 to 125 calories, though many wine glasses can hold up to twice as much. It is therefore important to measure your wine. Each serving can have from 3 to 8 g of carbohydrates. The average alcohol by volume for white wine is 12 percent.

Weight Gain

Too much white wine can be the enemy of healthy weight maintenance in many ways. First, the calories add up without filling you up. Drinking 300 calories of white wine, or 3 glasses, will leave you just as hungry as you were before you drank it. Alcohol should be seen as “empty calories.” Additionally, it takes 3,500 excess calories to gain 1 lb. of fat. Drinking just one glass of wine a day over your maintenance level of calories can add 13 lbs. of fat to your frame within a year. Additionally, drinking too much wine can lower your willpower to eat healthy food, because alcohol decreases inhibitions. After drinking too much wine, you may find yourself snacking on things you might not otherwise eat.

Alcoholism

Regularly drinking too much wine may lead to a tolerance of alcohol’s effects. Drinking more may lead to a dependence on wine, especially if there is a family history of alcohol. If you have trouble cutting back or find you have developed a psychological attachment to wine, consult a therapist, support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or a mental health specialist.

Other Conditions

Drinking too much wine on any given occasion can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronically drinking too much alcohol can cause pancreatitis, sudden death if you have existing heart problems, stroke, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, heart muscle damage and even certain cancers. If you are pregnant, drinking immoderately can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can result in a lifetime of health problems for your child.

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