Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: August 7, 2018

Wine Facts: How Much Wine Is Too Much?

Wine Facts: How Much Wine Is Too Much?

How much wine is too much? A question that torments physicians, experts and enthusiast consumers who can hardly determine which is the right amount of wine to drink.

To determine how much wine is too much, you must first understand the metabolism of wine and other variables that determine the alcohol tolerance factor. Let’s have an in-depth look at all these factors.

The Metabolism Of Wine

Wine is the product of the alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes or other fresh fruits. The yeast present in wine is capable of transforming the sugars from the juice, namely the glucose and the fructose, in ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

From a nutritional point of view, apart from the modest amounts of vitamins and mineral salts, the main contribution to the energy value is given by the alcohol itself.

The alcohol, once introduced into the body, is rapidly absorbed and transformed into heat and fat deposits or it is eliminated through other metabolic processes.

During the process of combustion of alcohol are formed the acetaldehyde and pyruvic acid, two harmful substances that are destroyed by the liver, muscles, and other tissues.

If alcohol is ingested in large quantities and on a daily basis, there is a risk of hepatic failure. An increased alcohol intake can also cause a disturbance of the defensive mechanisms of the body with the destruction of some intermediate processes that determine the metabolism of the alcohol.

This results in an incomplete metabolism and harmful toxins accumulate in the body, causing a series of more or less accentuated disorders.

How Much Wine Is Too Much?

According to the National Institute of Public Health in France, the amount of alcohol that can be metabolized by the organism is of about eight grams per hour. This capacity doesn’t increase proportionally with the alcohol intake, therefore the capacity of the organism to metabolize alcohol is limited.

In accordance with this study, results that the maximum recommended limit of alcohol that can be consumed by a physically active young man of an average size is 30 grams of alcohol per day, which roughly corresponds to two large glasses of wine.​

In the USA, the maximum recommended limit is lower, yet it still corresponds to two glasses of wine per day.

Because the metabolic capacities vary according to the size, body structure, physical fitness, and gender, this maximum allowance differs from person to person and there is no universal value for it.

In the case of women, everything that exceeds 0,8 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight is too much, while in the case of men this value rises to 1 gram of alcohol per kilogram of body weight. this means that a man weighing 75 kilograms, or about 165 lbs, can drink a maximum of 750 ml of wine per day.

In the case of women, researchers recommend avoiding drinking more than half a liter a day.

It is important to notice that even if research says that you can drink that much wine, most nutritionists disagree and see these values as excessive. We should also point out that these values don’t represent the recommended dosage of wine, but the maximum intake of alcohol per day.

This means that if you plan to drink other alcoholic beverages too, such as beer or liqueurs, the maximum recommended quantity of wine is even lower.

Another thing to highlight is the fact that alcohol isn’t considered an indispensable nutrient, on the contrary. Alcohol is not a nutrient at all but just a substance that is allowed and that can be effectively metabolized in low doses.

Despite the many benefits of wine, when pouring a glass you should always consider that the alcohol in it can damage your body functions.

Wine Consumption Tips

how much wine is too much

An important aspect from a dietary point of view is to drink wine at the appropriate time, to prevent alcohol damage.

As such, it is not advisable to drink wine on an empty stomach. It has been demonstrated that all alcoholic beverages, including wine, are tolerated better when consumed on a full stomach, and this also lowers the quantity of alcohol that will eventually reach the blood.

Because of this, the alcohol tolerance increases when consuming alcohol together with meals, and this means that you can drink more wine.

When consumed in the recommended doses, the wine has remarkable beneficial effects on the body. It can help the nervous system fight against stress and depression, has positive influences on the circulatory system, on the osteoarticular system, and even on the immune system.

Here are a few tips to enjoy as much wine as possible while maintaining a good health:

  • Don’t dilute wine with water. This will give you a false sensation of drinking less alcohol than you are actually consuming.
  • In the summer, decrease the usual dose of wine and drink more water. Alcohol provokes dehydration and so does the excessive environmental heat.
  • Avoid wine consumption when taking antibiotics, sedatives or anticoagulants.
  • If it happened to drink too much wine, it is advisable to drink a coffee as soon as possible. Caffeine delays the absorption of alcohol, giving your metabolic system the time to deal with it more efficiently.
  • If you are eating foods that pair well with different wines during the same meal, know that you can switch between two or even more types of wine at a time. This is not harmful to the body and it will enhance the organoleptic characteristics of both the wine and the food you’re eating.
  • Lastly, it is advisable to drink slowly to allow for a gradual absorption of the alcohol. Moreover, wine tasting is a complete pleasure to all senses, therefore don’t drink but sip a glass of good wine.

Final Thoughts

It is not easy to determine how much wine is too much, yet common sense should guide you. Remember that wine has beneficial effects only when consumed in moderate quantities and a high intake of alcohol will most certainly damage your body.

The safest way to enjoy a great wine while maintaining your health is to drink no more than two glasses a day.

About the Author Tim Edison

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since his late teens.

Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it.

Tim has travelled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa.

It is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here on wineturtle.com and take you along on the journey for a second time!

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