A wine and its composition are influenced by several factors, including the two main ones: of nature such as vine, soil, climate and technology such as wine making, and conservation.With the variation of these factors, different wines are obtained in quality and composition.
The wine consists mainly of water (of vegetable origin). This is in percentages between 80% and 85% of total volume. The other components of nutritional interest are alcohols, acids, sugars, poly-phenol, minerals and vitamins.
But how each of these components reacts with the body?
Alcohols – and why wine is better.
Of these, the ethyl one, once absorbed by the organism, is not digested and passes into the intestine and therefore into the blood and tissues. Within one hour of intake, the blood alcohol level is at its highest level.
Almost all ingested alcohol is transformed into water and carbon dioxide (combustion) due to the action of enzymes in the liver, and about 5-10% is eliminated through sweating and breath. “Among the types of wine, it seems that red wine gives a lower amount of alcohol in the blood and in any case later than white wines. In addition, alcohol intake in the blood is slowed down when ingested with food, compared to the same swallowed fasting wine” [The dictionary of wine -1978].
Alcohol ingested at small doses and during a meal contributes to physiological effects of great importance: it stimulates gastric salivation and even pancreatic stimulation, stimulates brain activity, giving you feelings of well-being and euphoria.
Conversely, when taken in toxic doses, alcohol causes metabolic dysfunction due to liver enzymes making this organ predisposed to cirrhosis; increases heart rate and blood pressure, elevates peripheral temperature and results in rapid heat loss. At high doses, alcohol acts as an anesthetic, creating a progressive loss of sensitivity and motor coordination.
That’s why wine is preferable, it can be used with meals (although in some countries vodka or saké are used), excluding beer, it has a lower alcohol level than other spirits and it returns complex taste and olfactory sensations.
But if you are wondering how much alcohol you have to drink, to feel more than great and still be present to yourself, the answer seems to be: it’s hard to understand.
Alcohol in the blood by 0.5-0.8 gr. per thousand does not cause substantial changes in behavior, at a rate of 1 per thousand, one does not seem to be in the state of being drunk but the brain slows down its functions, 2 per thousand a person loses control of the will, total depression of inhibitory centers, psychic exaltation and great optimism (here you look very very strange).
With an eye to health and diet, the advice of some authors is to take an alcoholic content of not more than 15% of the total caloric in your diet so that you do not have any harm.
OK but how do I measure it?
Simple: read the label. Assuming alcohol indication says 12%, multiplies it by 0.8 and get the grams per 100 ml, multiply the grams for the volume of ingested wine, and get how many grams of alcohol you ingested. If I multiply this value for 7 (calories/gram) I get how many calories I have taken.
Ex: 12 x 0.8 = 9.6 grams in 100 ml, 9.6 divided by 100 x 240 ml (1 glass) = 23.4 gr. of alcohol x 7 = 161 calories.
An 80 kg adult man has a baseline metabolic value of about 1800 calories, consequently 161 / 1800 x 100 = 8.9% of his energy requirement, well below the 15% limit.
That’s why don Biagio, my grandfather, used to say: “a couple of glasses of a good red never hurts”, emptying a bottle of red with his helpers, after a long day in the vineyard.