Strictly speaking, alcohol is not Paleo. As is usually the case though, it’s not all black and white.
Fermentation is a natural process, and even wild animals have been known to seek out fermenting fruit, but that doesn’t compare to the vast amounts of alcohol we have available to us today. Nevertheless, scientists have shown that there are certain health benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation.
The Benefits of Red Wine
Red wine, in particular, has been proven to have health-promoting effects. It has been linked with an increase in omega-3 fats (a type of polyunsaturated fat that is anti-inflammatory and beneficial for our heart and brain), it has been shown to have possible anti-aging effects, and it might even be effective in battling Alzheimer’s.
Paleo and Carbohydrates
Most of us living a Paleo lifestyle try to avoid spiking our blood sugar. A spike leads to a crash, leaving us tired and cranky and craving more sugar. Since alcohol is made from sugar, it generally tends to create a blood sugar spike, but red wine is relatively low in sugar, and has actually been shown to lower blood sugar levels in some people.
White wine, on the other hand, tends to be much higher in carbohydrates than red wine and is more likely to result in a blood sugar spike. It does have a hefty helping of antioxidants, but it’s not as beneficial as its sibling, red wine. If you do choose to indulge with a glass of wine, we recommend that you go with red over white.
Red wine has also been associated with lower cholesterol levels, so if you feel fine drinking it, go for it. As with everything, it’s an N=1 experiment. If you feel better without it, don’t drink it, but if you want to indulge at the occasional holiday party, we won’t revoke your Paleo Cred Card for it ;)