Why does white wine seem to depress me? Red doesn't have the same effect.

Oct 5, 2016

Q: Why does white wine seem to depress me? Red doesn't have the same effect. I prefer a dry wine over sweet if that is helpful. —Martha Alpi, Lyndhurst, NJ

A: We weren't able to locate any medical studies that looked at why one wine might cause depression more than another, but alcohol is a depressant. It lowers inhibitions, can slow down motor functions and alters perception. Dry white wines tend to be crisp and refreshing, while red wines tend to have more tannins, seem "heavier" in taste and alcohol content. It's possible that because of white wine's quaffability, you might be apt to drink more white wine in one sitting, which brings us to moderation. You may be drinking more when you indulge in white wine, introducing more alcohol to your body, which could result in your depression.

According to Lisa Moskovitz, RD (registered dietitian), CDN (certified dietitian/nutritionist) and CEO of the New York Nutrition Group, "All alcohol, whether it's in the form of wine, beer or hard liquor, is classified as a depressant, which means it can have a negative impact on mood, senses, movement and perception. While different types of wine range in alcohol content, it's unlikely that you would experience significantly different effects if you drank the exact same amount of each type of wine at the same pace. With that said, some people do tend to drink white wine slighter faster than red, or tend to consume red wine with heavier foods, which can help slow down the absorption rate of the wine. If none of these cases apply, the last possibility could be a food intolerance. The best way to weed out food intolerances is by doing an elimination diet." An elimination diet is a diet whose concern isn't weight loss but an eating plan that helps identify potential allergies. It is done in concert with a doctor or nutritionist and is a short-term measure usually lasting several weeks. The diet involves removing specific foods known to cause allergies (like eggs, milk, soy, wheat, nuts, foods containing gluten, etc.) then slowly adding back the eliminated foods one by one in order to determine their effects on the body. Any problems or ill effects narrow the focus on the "problem" food which is then removed from the diet.

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