Oenologie - Le sport et le vin font-ils vraiment bon ménage ? - Les Grappes

Do sports and wine really mix?

Prejudice is hard to live with. Beliefs, however much they please society and validate a certain way of life, spread very quickly. Those concerning wine and health in France are no exception. Is wine good for your health? Can we drink it if we are a sportsman? Indeed, some red wine compounds would be beneficial for health. Some also claim that they would improve the physical performance of sportsmen and women and allow, among other things, better cardiac conditions. So, beliefs or scientific truths? Let's come back to these assertions about wine and sport.

A glass of red wine is equivalent to 1 hour of sport: completely FALSE

This assertion, which has been widely relayed since the beginning of the year, comes from a Canadian study by the University of Alberta, dating from 2012. It is entitled: "Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats", which is :The improvement of muscle fibers and cardiac function induced by Resveratrol during exercise training contributes to enhanced exercise performance in rats.

Many articles have interpreted from this study that a glass of red wine is equivalent to one hour of sport. This interpretation is wrong for several reasons:

  • The test was conducted on rats, not humans. No scientific fact today allows extrapolation to humans.
  • In the study, the researchers compared 2 groups of rats both subjected to regular exercise for 3 months. One group followed the Resveratrol diet and the other did not. The study in no way replaces physical activity with the injection of Resveratrol. At best, it complements it.
  • The rats were not given a red wine diet, but a concentrated diet based on the Resveratrol molecule alone. Red wine contains this famous molecule, but not only. All the other compounds contained in red wine cannot simply and so easily be omitted in interpretations.
  • Finally, the levels of Resveratrol in red wines in France are on average 5 mg/L. With very long maceration processes, the highest levels can go up to 12mg/L. The rats received a dose of Resveratrol of 4g/Kg of food. This is equivalent to 444 bottles of red wine per Kg of food!

The conclusion that one glass of wine is equivalent to one hour of sport is simply wrong. The only conclusion of this study is that a diet with a very high content of Resveratrol associated with sports activity can improve physical conditions... in rats!

Red wine is good for the heart: TRUE and FALSE

This belief, which dates back to the 1990s, is increasingly being challenged. It is based on the famous French Paradox, highlighted by American medical studies. The population of south-western France, despite a diet very rich in saturated fats of animal origin, had a lower rate of cardiovascular disease than other populations. This study was surprising in light of the theory that the consumption of saturated fats was responsible for cardiovascular disease. And since an explanation had to be found: the consumption of red wine!

Since then, many studies, more or less serious, have looked into the effects of polyphenols, Resveratrol and antioxidants in red wine. The results are contradictory and the debate is very controversial on this point.

What should be remembered from this debate: certain compounds contained in red wine, polyphenols, Resveratrol and antioxidants, could be good for the heart, promoting blood fluidity, reducing inflammation, decreasing lipid oxidation or dilating vessels. But there are other compounds in wine that should not be omitted and in particular alcohol: is it also good for the heart?

Is mixing wine and sport good for your health? Rather good

This statement is based on several studies: the Canadian study from the University of Alberta and a Czech study conducted in 2012.

According to these studies, it is not the consumption of red wine alone that improves the lipid profiles of the subjects, but the combination with regular physical activity.

Many doctors recognize the positive effects of red wine. However, red wine alone does not maintain good health. So wine and sport? Yes, but especially sport!

White wines, rosé wines and Champagnes are much more caloric than red wines: FALSE

Red wine monopolises the debates on health and sport, but what about white wines, rosé wines and champagnes? Studies on these products are much less controversial and in fact much less numerous. Quite simply because they do not contain the famous sought-after and beneficial molecules of red wine. Polyphenols, Resveratrol and antioxidants are present in very low doses in these wines.

For all that, there are no more calories in these wines than in red wines! On average, count between 80 and 90 calories per 100 mL of wine whatever the colour.

Our advice: Wine is above all a product of pleasure. Certain compounds can be positive for the organism. At moderate doses, it is likely that it does not affect the physical capacities of sportsmen and women. But let's not pretend that it improves them! Drink moderately for pleasure, and if you want to consume the famous polyphenols, Resveratrol and antioxidants... eat grapes without moderation!

Manon (Les Grappes)

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