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Wine consumption, price increased in Midwest, provides some health benefits in moderation

Wine consumption is on the rise in the Midwest.

But at about 130 calories per five-ounce glass, according to Calorieking.com, these seemingly empty calories might have some health benefits.

Central Michigan Health Park physician Alex Corcoran said wine, specifically red varieties, has a lower calorie content and a reduced amount of sugar compared to other alcoholic drinks.

“Alcoholism, in general, is a health concern, but increasing wine consumption isn’t by itself,” he said. “Generally, half a glass of wine, or roughly four to eight ounces of wine per day, is an acceptable amount. Excessive wine consumption would be three to four glasses or more of wine per day.”

The Centers for Disease Control reported earlier this month 14 million U.S. women binge drink, consuming an average of six drinks per binge at least three times a month.

However, Corcoran said although wine does have antioxidants and is a healthier alternative to other alcoholic drinks, he recommends drinks without alcohol.

“The benefits of wine can be found in other beverages, foods and supplements,” he said. “There are better ways to get antioxidants like through acai berry juice or pomegranate juice.”

Liquor 1 president Gary Singh said he has noticed a rising popularity of wine at his liquor store, 1707 S. Mission St.

“Wine is going up in sales,” he said. “There’s been more advertising of wine on TV, on the radio and everywhere else.”

The average American spends six percent of their calories on soda, and another five percent is attributed to alcohol, the Associated Press reported.

Like soda, alcohol contains few nutrients but plenty of calories. A 12-ounce can of Bud Light has 110 calories, and the average one-ounce shot contains roughly 70 calories, according to CalorieKing.com.

As part of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care reform law, many foods and drinks require calorie counts to be displayed on restaurant menus, but alcoholic beverages are exempt.

It isn’t just the consumption of wine that is increasing; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price is going up as well.

Both red and white table wines have nearly doubled in price in the past decade.

In November 2012, wine cost an average $12.58 per liter, up $5.89 from its $6.68 price per liter in November 2002.

The steady increase can be attributed to the growth of the wine industry and, especially this year, higher grape costs after a dry harvest season, the Silicon Valley Annual State of the Wine Industry Report said.

Sales growth in fine wine is predicted to be between four to eight percent in 2013, which is a lower growth than in recent years, meaning prices of what is available will likely be slightly higher.

Despite price increases, Singh said the price of wine at Liquor 1 has remained consistent so far.

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