Wine vs Grape Juice: Which is Better for Health?

In considering wine vs grape juice for health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides objective information. It reports the nutritional content of a serving of each.

Beverage Calories Fat (g.) Carb (g.) Sugars (g.)
Red wine 125 0.0 3.8 0.9
Grape juice  (unsweetened) 152 0.3 33.0 35.9

Wine vs Grape Juice

Grape skins are a good source of healthful antioxidants. In making red wine, the juice remains in contact with the crushed skins for a substantial time. The result is that red wine contains more antioxidants than simple grape juice.

Both red wine and grape juice contain a compound called resveratrol (trans-3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene). The amount varies by grape variety. But to be beneficial, the level consumed needs to be very high. It must be many times higher than that in either red wine or grape juice. Consuming vast quantities of wine and/or grape juice is inadvisable.

Wine contains alcohol. In fact, standard drinks of wine, beer, and spirits contain the same amount of alcohol. Research overall suggests no greater health benefits of wine (red or white) over beer or spirits. Some studies find the highest health benefits from beer. Others find it from from distilled spirits. Some find it from wine. And many that look at all three find no differences among them in health or longevity benefits.

wine vs grape juice

Wine vs Grape Juice

The one common denominator in alcoholic beverages is alcohol. So It appears that alcohol is the primary beneficial factor in alcoholic beverages.

Dr. Leonard Guarente is a professor at M.I.T. who studies the biology of aging. He reports that there is strong scientific evidence from research that red wine has health and longevity benefits. But he says there are no similar studies on grape juice.

Resources for Wine vs Grape Juice

Das, D., and Ursini, F. Alcohol and Wine in Health and Disease. NY: NY Acad Sci, 2002.

O’Byrne. Red Wine and Health. NY: Nova Sci, 2009.

Peeters, A. Wine: Types, Production and Health. NY: Nova Sci, 2012.

Rayess, Y. Wine: Phenolic Composition, Classification and Health Benefits. NY: Nova, 2014.

Sahidi, F., and D. Weerasinghe. Nutraceutical Beverages: Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health. Washington, DC: Am Chem Soc, 2004.

Yeager, S., et al. The Doctors Book of Food Remedies. Emmaus, PA: Rodale,1997.

Nutritional data for wine vs grape juice from USDA SR-21.