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Non-Alcoholic Wine

September 12, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Recently, an intriguing study published in the journal Circulation Research made headlines in the mainstream news. In the trial, a group of scientists from Barcelona, Spain compared the effects of conventional and de-alcoholized red wine in 67 men at risk for cardiovascular disease. The researchers also tested the impact of gin in a cross-over, randomized manner. The surprising results of the trial revealed that only the non-alcoholic red wine induced a significant reduction in blood pressure. Specifically, they noted a drop of 2 mmhg diastolic and 6 mmhg systolic blood pressure. In real world terms, this equates to an estimated 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease and 20% decline in stroke incidence.

Even proponents of moderate wine consumption agree that alcohol isn’t appropriate for everyone. For this reason, researchers have been trying to determine whether the relative health benefits of certain alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, may be attainable without the presence of alcohol itself. Some of the highlights of these investigations report that de-alcoholized wine: a) protects against DNA damage and oxidative stress, which is associated with numerous diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes; b) lowers inflammatory cytokines that may contribute to hardening of the arteries; c) does not increase the risk of excessive “blood thinning” that can occur with high dosages of alcohol, but safely improves circulation via improved endothelial function.

Manufacturers of non-alcoholic wines generally claim that their processing techniques retain virtually all of the beneficial components found in conventional wine – except for the ethanol. What’s more, they advertise that their red and white wines contain as little as 1/3 of the calories of alcoholic counterparts. This is an obvious advantage for those concerned about weight management. Another relevant point is that at least one investigation determined that de-alcoholized grape wine actually lowers blood sugar (fasting blood sugar and HbA1c – a measure of long term glycemic control) and insulin in type 2 diabetics. Having said that, because of the considerable differences in how different brands are processed, I suggest that diabetics, hypoglycemics and those on low carbohydrate diets test their individual reaction to non-alcoholic wines. In the near future, I plan to use a home blood testing kit to do the same. Last, but not least, is the issue of taste. According to one manufacturer, alcohol-removed wine does not taste like (unfermented) grape juice. However, they admit that the body, taste and texture differs from regular wine. The resulting product is supposedly “less robust” and “lighter”. I’ll perform my own personal assessment of the taste factor (and blood sugar effects) and report back.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Click on the following links to learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column:

Study 1 - Dealcoholized Red Wine Decreases Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure (link)

Study 2 - Intake of Alcohol-Free Red Wine Modulates Antioxidant Enzyme(link)

Study 3 - Single and Repeated Moderate Consumption of Native or Dealcoholized (link)

Study 4 - Differential Effects of Polyphenols and Alcohol of Red Wine (link)

Study 5 - High Dose of Red Wine Elicits Enhanced Inhibition of Fibrinolysis(link)

Study 6 – Acute Smoking Induces Endothelial Dysfunction in Healthy Smokers (link)

Study 7 – Red Wine’s Antioxidants Counteract Acute Endothelial Dysfunction (link)

Study 8 - Red Wine Induced Modulation of Vascular Function: Separating the (link)

Study 9 - Red Wine Acutely Induces Favorable Effects on Wave Reflections (link)

Study 10 - Muscadine Grape Products Intake, Diet and Blood Constituents (link)

De-Alcoholized Red Wine Promotes Health Vascular Function

Source: J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006 May;47(5):695-701. (link)

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10 Comments & Updates to “Non-Alcoholic Wine”

  1. JD Says:

    Now that was an interesting read. So is this basically fermented drinks, such as: http://www.pomegranate-juice.eu/?Home ? I did a search for “non alcoholic wine” and I do see quite a few of them out there. This pomegranate product caught my interest some time ago, but it’s not easily available.

  2. JP Says:

    Hi JD,

    Essentially, most alcohol-free wines are traditionally fermented wines with the ethanol removed post fermentation. It doesn’t appear that the fermented pomegranate product you mention contains a significant amount of alcohol. Having said that, there are some pomegranate wines currently on the market:

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/1086/berry-and-pomegranate-wines/

    Be well!

    JP

  3. rob Says:

    Seems that fermenting fruits/veggies give it additional benefits

  4. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    This is often the case. As a bonus, the fermentation process extends the “shelf-life” of fresh food – without the need for cooking or preservaties. IMO, many fermented foods are pretty tasty too. :)

    http://lib.bioinfo.pl/paper:22702745

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Update: Organic, no-sulfite added red wines are higher in antioxidants …

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814615001806

    Food Chem. 2015 Jul 15;179:336-42.

    Polyphenols content, phenolics profile and antioxidant activity of organic red wines produced without sulfur dioxide/sulfites addition in comparison to conventional red wines.

    Wine exerts beneficial effects on human health when it is drunk with moderation. Nevertheless, wine may also contain components negatively affecting human health. Among these, sulfites may induce adverse effects after ingestion. We examined total polyphenols and flavonoids content, phenolics profile and antioxidant activity of eight organic red wines produced without sulfur dioxide/sulfites addition in comparison to those of eight conventional red wines. Polyphenols and flavonoids content were slightly higher in organic wines in respect to conventional wines, however differences did not reach statistical significance. The phenolic acids profile was quite similar in both groups of wines. Antioxidant activity was higher in organic wines compared to conventional wines, although differences were not statistically significant. Our results indicate that organic red wines produced without sulfur dioxide/sulfites addition are comparable to conventional red wines with regard to the total polyphenols and flavonoids content, the phenolics profile and the antioxidant activity.

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Updated 07/26/15:

    http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2014/FO/C4FO00029C#!divAbstract

    Food Funct. 2014 Aug;5(8):1932-8. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00029c.

    High levels of Bifidobacteria are associated with increased levels of anthocyanin microbial metabolites: a randomized clinical trial.

    The health benefits associated with the consumption of polyphenol-rich foods have been studied in depth, however, the full mechanism of action remains unknown. One of the proposed mechanisms is through microbiota interaction. In the present study, we aimed to explore the relationship between changes in fecal microbiota and changes in urinary phenolic metabolites after wine interventions. Nine participants followed a randomized, crossover, controlled interventional trial. After the washout period, they received red wine, dealcoholized red wine or gin for 20 days each. Polyphenol metabolites (n > 60) in urine were identified and quantified by UPLC-MS/MS and the microbial content of fecal samples was quantified by real-time quantitative PCR. Interventions with both red wine and dealcoholized red wine increased the fecal concentration of Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus and Eggerthella lenta, compared to gin intervention and baseline. When participants were categorized in tertiles of changes in fecal bacteria, those in the highest tertile of Bifidobacteria had higher urinary concentration changes in syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and homovanillic acid (all anthocyanin metabolites) than those in tertile 1 (P < 0.05, all). In addition, changes of Bifidobacteria correlated positively with changes of these metabolites (r = 0.5-0.7, P < 0.05, all). Finally, the 68.5% changes in Bifidobacteria can be predicted by syringic acid and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid changes. This study confirms the important role of polyphenols as bacterial substrates and their modulatory capacity as an important field in the research of new products with prebiotic and probiotic characteristics for the food industry.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Updated 07/26/15:

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf400678d

    J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Apr 24;61(16):3909-15.

    Comparative study of microbial-derived phenolic metabolites in human feces after intake of gin, red wine, and dealcoholized red wine.

    The analysis of microbial phenolic metabolites in fecal samples from in vivo studies is crucial to understanding the potential modulatory effects derived from polyphenol consumption and its overall health effects, particularly at the gut level. In this study, the composition of microbial phenolic metabolites in human feces collected after regular consumption of either red wine, dealcoholized red wine, or gin was analyzed by UPLC-ESI-MS/MS. Red wine interventions produce a change in the content of eight phenolic acids, which are probably derived from the catabolism of flavan-3-ols and anthocyanins, the main flavonoids in red wine. Moreover, alcohol seemed not to influence the formation of phenolic metabolites by the gut microbiota. A principal component analysis revealed large interindividual differences in the formation of microbial metabolites after each red wine polyphenol intervention, but not after the gin intervention, indicating differences in the gut microbial composition among subjects.

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 07/26/15:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021967312015051

    J Chromatogr A. 2012 Nov 23;1265:105-13.

    Gut and microbial resveratrol metabolite profiling after moderate long-term consumption of red wine versus dealcoholized red wine in humans by an optimized ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method.

    Resveratrol exerts a variety of biological and pharmacological activities, which are observed despite its extremely low bioavailability and rapid clearance from the circulation due to extensive sulfation and glucuronidation in the intestine and liver. In order to more accurately quantify all known resveratrol metabolites, a sensitive and optimized analytical assay was developed and validated by pure standards. Methodology improvements aimed to the chromatographic detection of disulfates and sulfoglucuronides, improving resolution of sulfates, by using a buffered solution, with recovery values of resveratrol and its metabolites, even of sulfates, of 99%. The adapted methodology was then applied to a clinical study with high cardiovascular risk subjects, after the moderate consumption of red wine (RW) or dealcoholized red wine (DRW) for 28 days. Up to 21 resveratrol metabolites, including those formed by gut and microbial metabolism, were identified in 24-h urine samples. Interestingly, after long-term consumption of RW and DRW, resveratrol metabolite concentration significantly increased in urine with no differences between the two interventions, indicating that bioavailability and biotransformation of resveratrol is not affected by the alcoholic matrix of wine. In summary, we established a sensitive analytical assay for the quantification of a wide resveratrol metabolic profile in human urine, also regarding gut microbial-derived metabolites, which may also be applied to blood and tissue samples. The resveratrol metabolic pattern might therefore act as an excellent marker for the efficacy of resveratrol in clinical and epidemiological studies for the study of the beneficial effects of grape product consumption. In this sense, having a more precise concentration value of all the resveratrol metabolites in target tissues would finally lead to a better interpretation of the obtained results.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 07/26/15:

    http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614%2812%2900189-6/abstract

    Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):200-6.

    Effects of red wine polyphenols and alcohol on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile: a randomized clinical trial.

    BACKGROUND & AIMS: Epidemiological data suggest that moderate red wine consumption reduces cardiovascular mortality and the incidence of diabetes. However, whether these effects are due to ethanol or to non-alcoholic components of red wine still remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of moderate consumption of red wine, dealcoholized red wine, and gin on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile.

    METHODS: Sixty-seven men at high cardiovascular risk were randomized in a crossover trial. After a run-in period, all received each of red wine (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, and gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 week periods, in a randomized order. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), plasma lipoproteins, apolipoproteins and adipokines were determined at baseline and after each intervention.

    RESULTS: Fasting glucose remained constant throughout the study, while mean adjusted plasma insulin and HOMA-IR decreased after red wine and dealcoholized red wine. HDL cholesterol, Apolipoprotein A-I and A-II increased after red wine and gin. Lipoprotein(a) decreased after the red wine intervention.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results support a beneficial effect of the non-alcoholic fraction of red wine (mainly polyphenols) on insulin resistance, conferring greater protective effects on cardiovascular disease to red wine than other alcoholic beverages.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 10/11/16:

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02691

    J. Agric. Food Chem., Article ASAP September 17, 2016

    Changes in Wine Ethanol Content Due to Evaporation from Wine Glasses and Implications for Sensory Analysis

    The relative proportion of water and ethanol present in alcoholic beverages can significantly influence the perception of wine sensory attributes. This study therefore investigated changes in wine ethanol concentration due to evaporation from wine glasses. The ethanol content of commercial wines exposed to ambient conditions while in wine glasses was monitored over time. No change in wine ethanol content was observed where glasses were covered with plastic lids, but where glasses were not covered, evaporation had a significant impact on wine ethanol content, with losses from 0.9 to 1.9% alcohol by volume observed for wines that received direct exposure to airflow for 2 h. Evaporation also resulted in decreases in the concentration of some fermentation volatiles (determined by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) and a perceptible change in wine aroma. The rate of ethanol loss was strongly influenced by exposure to airflow (i.e., from the laboratory air-conditioning unit), together with certain glass shape and wine parameters; glass headspace in particular. This is the first study to demonstrate the significant potential for ethanol evaporation from wine in wine glasses. Research findings have important implications for the technical evaluation of wine sensory properties; in particular, informal sensory trials and wine show judging, where the use of covers on wine glasses is not standard practice.

    Be well!

    JP

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