Conventional wisdom tells us that a glass or two of wine a day is beneficial for health. On Phase One, however, we recommend abstaining from all alcohol. So, what gives? Are you sacrificing maximum health by giving up a glass of wine every day? Let’s look more closely.
The Phase One Diet seeks to avoid the potential deleterious health effects of fungi and their poisonous byproducts known as mycotoxins. These organisms and their poisons, according to research, might be the underlying cause of many chronic health complications we humans experience. When switching to the Phase One Diet, it is recommended to avoid all grains, corn, sugar, starchy and carbohydrate-laden foods, most dairy, most fruit and alcohol.
There are two primary reasons why this dietary advice is recommended. First, foods high in carbohydrates and sugar could potentially feed a pathogenic fungal infection. Sugar is fungi’s food of choice, and if you are consuming lots of sugar, grains, bread or pasta, this might promote fungal growth on or in your body. Secondly, many of these foods, i.e., corn, grain, sugar, have the potential to be contaminated with fungal poisons. Many of these poisons are among the most toxic naturally occurring substances on earth.
To really zero in on why wine, itself, is eliminated, we need to consider a few things about wine, not least of which is how it is made. Wine is made by the fermentation––or the adding of yeast––to grape juice. Alcohol is the byproduct of this fermentation process. Therefore, alcohol is, in fact, a mycotoxin! “Well, a glass of wine isn’t going to poison me,” you might say. While this is true, alcohol is poisonous in large quantities, classifying it––at least in the broadest of terms––as a toxin. It is likely the one mycotoxin people come into contact with most often via their diets. This, even in light of the high sugar content of wine, is the primary reason wine (and any alcoholic beverage for that matter) is excluded from the Phase One Diet. When you drink alcohol, you are very literally consuming a mycotoxin.
It is important to note that alcohol consumption is also connected with heart disease, cancer, liver disease and other diseases. It really is a double-edged sword in this regard––while moderate drinking is associated with health, who is to say that moderate drinking over the course of a lifetime does not contribute to disease, necessarily. Time and more research will likely tell.
While many mycotoxins have a niche in our lives––think: antibiotics’ life-saving ability––it is important to remember that there is a darker side to consuming these poisons. Alcohol is certainly not excluded from this. While moderate drinking may have some health benefits, including antioxidant content, no benefit found in wine or other alcoholic beverages is impossible to glean elsewhere. So the question becomes, is it worth the potential risk of consuming mycotoxins on a daily basis to glean the benefits of alcohol? In light of the fungus link to disease theory, we would suggest the answer is a resounding, no!