Friday, October 27, 2006

A tip for tipplers

They say wine, especially red wine, is good for you. It's to do with those polyphenols, apparently. They're antioxidants which protect the lining of the arteries, making them less likely to fur up. You are then less likely to have a heart attack.

As for myself, I just like the taste, and the feeling of bonhomie that comes with having a glass or two. I think hippo (my daemon) - see below - enjoys wine too. It quietens him down, and in so doing makes me feel more at peace with the world.

But there's a downside to drinking alcoholic beverages, even in moderation. And it goes without saying that I always drink in moderation.

Liar !

It's to do with those calories. Having once been Head of Nutrition at a Research Association, and
being constantly on call to answer queries, there were certain key numbers that one kept in one's head.

They were: carbohydrate =4; protein =4; fat =9; alcohol =7. Those figures are the energy values expressed in kcals/gram. And as you can see, pure alcohol, gram for gram, is almost as calorific as fat itself. Put more bluntly, alcohol's almost as fattening as fat itself. Not many people know that, as Michael Caine might say.

To really bring it home, I've been doing some back-of-envelope calculations.

Rather than blitz you with a lot of figures, here's something I hope will leave you with a simple take-away message.

Suppose that you and your partner intend to share a bottle of wine tonight. It could be medium dry red, rosé or white .

But suppose your wine rack's empty, and you have to go out to buy it. And let's suppose you walk at a fairly brisk pace to the off-licence, supermarket whatever.

How far away would that outlet have to be from your home, such that you use up the same number of calories in collecting it as you will gain, later this evening when you consume it ? I think you will be surprised at the answer. I know I was.

To be "calorie-neutral" your wine outlet has to be approximately one and a half miles from your home.

Now there's a sobering thought !

4 comments:

NG said...

Oh dear, oh dear....I'm definitely atippler, and a happy tippler! Even collected wines for over 30 years and had the heartbraking duty to sell it on auction when I came south....no proper wine cellars down here for that kind of beverage....3 500 bottles collected with love and care for over 30 years!

But the story gets worst - I adore Vodka, 45 year old malt whisky...and now thanks to being influenced by Ed & C° have become a Gin-Tonic feind...did not know it before - but oh what delight after a really bl.... day!

Now since I've lived in the South with the help of local yocals and oenologues round here I'm finding great joy in wines I never heard of before - and definitely neither drunk nor stored nor collected!!!

Anecdote - had a very acid conversation with the reitred Wine Waiter in Chief at the Savoy when I told him instead of just proposing Bordeaux and Burgundy he should try and get his customers interested in some really surprising local beverages.....he was furious, and looked at me like something the cat had left on his front mat!!! But its his job to propose and introduce nez wines to people who love them!!

However, it's thanks to all sorts of amusing tips about never heard of wine that I have glorious souvenirs of "tastings" with super meals at home. Of course we were somewhat the worse for wear afterwards...but, le fin justifie les moyens!!!!

I, however, typical french culture, would die of shame if I was fat, or not brown!!!! I'm not scraggy either, but its more or less well conserved and looks the right shape with years and years of heavy sports to hold the things togethe!!!. Year's ago I made a choice - I never eat pud, or sugar, or high sugar content food - I,like fish, white meat and green veg.....my pud is a glorious few glasses of wine and when its a real party....a fair amount.

Wine and good food are a passion for me, like colors, or "ambiances" or the skylight here in the South....Wenesday the Mont Ventoux was silver because of the funny clouds in the sky....and then nearer home the Pic St.loup was mauve because it had been really sunny and the sun was tucking up to go to bed.

Glorious South....how do they survive with beer, rain and the sky sitting on their heads up North?

NG

Colin said...

Hello ng

You've come all the way from that nice Sarahland, just to keep me company. Welcome to D&D.

I hope you'll feel at home here. There's at least one thing we have in common. Santé!

angela said...

Hi Colin,
thanks for calling by. I don't think it's corny to follow film trails;often you can find the most photogenic, interesting scenery that way.
Alcohol: since I learned of the link between breast cancer and alcohol I don't partake except champagne which I drink so rarely it doesn't count!

Colin said...

Hi Angela

BC is becoming almost like an epidemic in the UK and elsewhere; I have two relatives presently on chemo' so understand your worries.

But I'd just say this, speaking as a retired biomed' professional.
The press is responsible for starting a lot of panic, the main reason being that journalists for the most part simply cannot get it into their heads that association does not necessarily imply causation. In other words, it may not be the alcohol that's the problem. It could be a spurious association, caused by the fact that alcohol consumers tend to have other traits, eg cigarette smoking etc.

My statistics textbook had a nice way of putting it. Did you know that the increase in alcohol consumption over the past 50 years is closely correlated with increases in teachers' salaries !