Side Effects of Wine to Know Before You Pour

Updated March 10, 2022
Cropped Hands Pouring Red Wine In Wineglass

While a joy to drink, there are a few side effects of wine that everyone should be aware of before pouring a glass. There are a handful of risks associated with consuming any alcohol, including wine, and it's important to be aware of these so you can make an informed decision about incorporating wine into your lifestyle.

Risks Associated With Drinking Wine

Imbibing wine has both health benefits and side effects. Educating yourself in order to understand how it can impact you and your health is a responsible move that everyone should make proactively.

Liver Disease

One of the most widely understood long-term effects of overindulging in alcohol is liver disease. One of the functions of the liver is to filter out impurities from the blood. When alcohol is consumed in large quantities, this organ has to work overtime. Eventually, after years of alcohol abuse, the liver may fail to work properly or simply quit functioning altogether. According to the American Liver Foundation, alcohol continues to be the second most common cause of cirrhosis.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Drinking wine or any form of alcohol while pregnant may have long-term effects on a child. Children that are exposed to alcohol while their mother is pregnant are in effect drinking the same alcohol their mother is. According to Healthwise, an unborn baby may suffer the following negative side effects of being exposed to alcohol:

  • Odd facial features
  • Smaller than other children their age
  • Learning problems
  • Behavior problems
  • Birth defects

If you think you may be pregnant, are trying to become pregnant, or are pregnant, it is best to abstain from drinking alcohol.

Sulfite Reactions

Sulfites are found in many foods, including wine. They are present in many products, such as dried fruits, jams, and jellies. Many people complain of sulfite headaches, and in more extreme cases, some individuals who are allergic to sulfites may suffer from hives, nausea, or even anaphylactic shock.

While all wine will have small amounts of natural sulfites present in the berries, natural wine has little to no added sulfites. If you are looking to drink wine but are affected by sulfites, try a zero-zero natural wine. You may just be headache free after your glass of vino.

Prescription Drug Reactions

You may experience increased health risks if you drink wine while taking certain prescription drugs. Adverse reactions vary, depending upon the prescription taken and the amount of wine consumed. If you are starting a new prescription, be sure to check with your doctor and read the fine print of your medication prior to indulging in wine or any other alcohol.

Migraine Headaches

Ever heard people talk about red wine headaches? There is evidence that wine, particularly red wine, may trigger migraine headaches in some individuals. Harvard Medical School attributes this to histamine, a compound present in grape skins. Because the grape skins are included in the red wine-making process, more histamine ends up in red wine than in white wine. If you struggle with migraines from wine, choose a glass of white, or even a light orange wine, over red.

Weight Gain

All alcohol, including wine, contains calories. Unlike that wholesome dinner of roast organic chicken and vegetables, wine calories are more or less empty and lack nutrition. While a glass here and there won't add up to much, drinking multiple glasses a day does tack on a substantial amount of calories to your daily intake. To avoid gaining weight, limit your consumption and stick to lower-calorie wines.

Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is closely linked with alcohol consumption. Even small amounts of alcohol can increase estrogen levels, which increases one's risk of developing breast cancer.

Drink Responsibly

Wine contains alcohol, and alcohol, overall, isn't exactly great for you. Each individual should discuss any health concerns with their doctor and decide if drinking wine in moderation is OK for them. Everyone should be aware of the risks that come with drinking wine. Remember to drink responsibly in order to avoid any of the adverse effects associated with alcohol consumption.

Side Effects of Wine to Know Before You Pour