Is Wine Healthier Than Beer?

When we talk about booze there are two contenders battling not just for the taste, but mostly for which is healthier. There’s nothing more complacent than knowing that you’re preferred booze won’t compromise your health.
Well, the word “complacent” should not be normalized when it comes to drinking parties and such that involve such palatable liquors – drinking moderately should always be the right choice.

Different types of alcohol are inevitable; therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss whether wine or beer is healthier.

Wine Not?

Since the early 1980s, researchers noticed that the French—despite typically eating foods consisting of saturated fat and cholesterol—had lower rates of heart disease and sudden death. Some called this phenomenon the “French paradox”, and they went to work figuring out an explanation. Wine emerged as a prime candidate. Some experts have suggested that red wine makes the difference, something the wine industry has heavily and heartily endorsed. The studies had also suggested that red wine—particularly when drunk with a meal—offers more cardiovascular benefits than beer or spirits. These range from international comparisons showing a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in “wine-drinking countries” than in beer- or liquor-drinking countries.

Additionally, red wine may contain various compounds in addition to alcohol that could relax blood vessel walls and prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “bad” cholesterol), a key early step in the formation of cholesterol-filled plaque. These substances are called polyphenols, including a specific type called flavonoids that impart the unique color and taste of wine. Flavonoids are found in other plant foods like blueberries, strawberries, apples, onions, dark chocolate, and tea. Some polyphenols specific to red wine include resveratrol, quercetin, and epicatechins.  Red wine tends to receive more attention than white wine because it contains about 10 times the amount of polyphenols. However, there may be other active compounds in white wine that offer a cardioprotective effect.
Due to the health benefits from wine that are often attributed to its polyphenol content, research has looked at dealcoholized wine. This type of wine undergoes fermentation, after which the ethanol is filtered out, but the polyphenol content is preserved. Small studies in individuals with heart disease risk factors found that dealcoholized wine helped to reduce insulin resistance and increase levels of nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels to relax and thereby lower blood pressure.

BEER it in Mind

Beer, however, may have gotten a bad rap. A study in 2006 indicates that grocery store purchases in Denmark found that people who bought wine also tended to buy more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods than people who bought beer. Expert speculations implied that the average wine drinker may eat healthier than the average beer drinker. If true, that could explain many of the health advantages associated with wine.

More recent research shows that controls for diet and other lifestyle variables concluded that drinking moderate amounts of beer—usually defined as one per day for women and two for men—offers the same heart-health benefits as a similar amount of wine.

Beer consists of similar phenolic compounds as red wine but in lower amounts, including quercetin, epicatechins, and gallic acid. [8, 9] About 70-80% of polyphenols in beer come from barley malt, and another 20-30% from hops, the flowers from the hop plant. 

Bear in mind that the amount of polyphenols in alcohol is modest and only contributes a small amount to the total amount of polyphenols found in a wide variety of plant foods. For example, increasing one’s intake from one to two servings daily of tea, coffee, berries, onions, or apples provides a much higher amount of polyphenols than having an extra glass of red wine. 

The true health benefit of alcohol is not likely its polyphenol content but the effects of ethanol itself.

While the calories can add up, beer offers significant nutritional value. A number of explicit studies suggest that beer is widely the world’s most consumed alcoholic beverage. Wine, on the other hand, has fewer calories and antioxidants but that doesn’t necessarily make for a healthier drink. Despite the widespread belief that red wine is good for your heart, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine was unable to find any link between resveratrol consumption & cardiovascular disease. Potentially, most benefits are only found in red wine.