The benefits of wine -- without the alcohol

If you drink because of the supposed health benefits of booze, I've got some sobering news for you today: You can get all those benefits -- and more -- without touching a drop of alcohol.

It's true.

For example, red wine lowers blood sugar. We know that -- but it's not because of its alcoholic content. It's because of all the great polyphenols and antioxidants in the drink, including resveratrol.

Now, a new study proves it again as researchers find that wine without the alcohol is just as good as regular wine when it comes to blood sugar control.

Researchers asked 67 men with a high risk of heart problems to spend four weeks drinking either gin, red wine, or dealcoholized red wine. Then, they spent four weeks drinking one of the other drinks… and four more weeks drinking the third beverage.

Both red wine and the dealcoholized red wine had the same effect on insulin resistance, lowering it by up to 30 percent when compared to their levels at the start of the study, and up to 22 percent compared to the gin drinkers.

That's not the only way the healthy compounds in wine can help you. In another study I told you about recently, the same resveratrol that can help reduce insulin resistance helped reduce hemoglobin A1c levels and lower blood pressure levels in patients with type-2 diabetes.

And in that study, the patients didn't drink any wine at all -- they used supplements. I know I talk about the importance of getting nutrition from diet, but in this case supplements are actually better -- and not just because they're alcohol-free.

It's because wine itself actually contains only very low levels of resveratrol and other antioxidants. Enough to get a benefit, sure -- but the real benefits found in many studies come from the much higher levels that you can only get from a quality supplement.

Bottom line here is that you can feel free to have an occasional drink -- as long as you understand that there's always a chance any benefits will be offset by the risks. And if you're really just interested in those benefits, get them without the booze.