Scientists continue to debate the mechanism behind this ancient tonic which brings benefit to the heart, mind and soul. And……………. the digestive tract.
A touch of alcohol is able to take some of the stress out of dinner. The biochemical stress, not just the psychosocial stress you encounter, because you’re eating with the in-laws.
A tipple of alcohol with dinner please….
A team from the University Hospital of Zurich set about investigating the pros and cons of drinking a little alcohol, when consuming that big Sunday lunch.
The team enrolled 20 volunteers to dip into a cheese fondue. If you’re wondering why fondue – remember this is a Swiss study. The volunteers, 14 male and 6 female, were all healthy and relatively skinny i.e. they had normal body mass index (average BMI = 23.6).
Cheese and wining
The volunteers tucked into cheese fondue on two different occasions, a week apart.
On one occasion they enjoyed a little wine, with their cheese fondue and then rounded off this decadent meal, with a little cherry liqueur digestive (schnapps), 90 minutes later.
On the other occasion, they were tea totalling. Quite literally, they were served black tea with the meal and plain old water 90 minutes later.
Digestive system takes a breather
The research team kept tabs on the digestive tracts activities, through regular breath tests.
And….. just like the brain slows down a little following a tot or two of alcohol, the digestive tract relaxes too.
Digestion of the fondue dinner slowed down.
But, it still proceeded. It ticked along nicely, so there was no danger of things screeching to halt resulting in indigestion.
Slowing things down reduces stress
Specifically postprandial stress. This is the angst faced by your liver, as all the calories you’ve just consumed, come rushing into the liver for “processing”.
When things come into the liver from the small intestine, thick and fast, the liver has to work really hard. How hard depends on what precisely was in the meal. Items that are particularly challenging are fructose and carbs, especially high glycemic carbs, because they’re loaded with readily available glucose.
Slowing things down a little – relieves the pressure.
This research suggests a glass of wine is able to make dinner a slightly lower glycemic affair.
Dulling the sugar spike
The absence of an enormous sugar spike, will mean that the pancreas isn’t forced to push out mass quantities of insulin, in a frantic attempt to get things back under control. So a glass of wine helps rein in insulin.
So, don’t be too afraid to enjoy a glass of wine, with good friends and good food. It really is good for you.
BUT REMEMBER – one glass takes the edge off, more alcohol than this can flatten the system, leaving you a little more stressed, not less. And wine like most things that taste good, is not calorie free !Effect on gastric function and symptoms of drinking wine, black tea, or schnapps with a Swiss cheese fondue: randomised controlled crossover trial. BMJ (2010) 341:c6731. Henriette Heinrich, Oliver Goetze, Dieter Menne, Peter X Iten, Heiko Fruehauf, Stephan R Vavricka, Werner Schwizer, Michael Fried, Mark Fox.
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