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Ladies, That Chardonnay Might Be Why You're an Emotional Wreck

Are you a moody female who thinks that a couple of nightly glasses of white wine is helping you drown your anxiety and sadness? Actually, it might be making them worse.
July 15, 2015, 8:15pm

There's long been a common, pervasive stereotype of single young ladies and bored suburban housewives totalling a bottle and a half of Chardonnay nightly as a means of literally drowning their barely repressible loneliness and existential sorrow. But maybe those sighs and tears of ennui aren't being alleviated by that glass of Yellowtail—they might be exacerbated by it.

If you're female, you may have noticed that a couple of glasses of pinot grigio are way more likely to send you into an emotional tailspin of anxiety, stress, and self-loathing (and subsequent impulse-texting of exes and self-cutting of bangs) than a margarita with your buds during happy hour. But this isn't just contextual; there is legit scientific reasoning behind why white wine is making you into a human Cathy comic.

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First and foremost, it's easy to forget that alcohol is, by nature, a depressant (despite how lively you might feel while chugging Fireball and listening to the remix to "Ignition"). And according to a UK-based alcohol-abuse prevention charity called Drinkaware, there are a few factors that play into your lousy reaction to vino blanco. For starters, most women are prone to overpouring their "glass" of wine—not realizing it's far more than the standard pour you would get at a restaurant. Top it off a few times, and the next thing you know, you've had three drinks in the span of an hour.

But beyond that, white wine in particular is loaded with sulphites (also spelled sulfites)—sulphur compounds that occur naturally in grapes but are also added to wine during the fermentation process as a kind of preservative against unwanted bacteria and yeast growth. Though more research is required to create a definitive link, sulphites have been tied to complaints of depression, post-drinking "blues," headaches, digestive problems, and other downer ailments. White wines, by nature, require more added sulphites to produce than red wines. If your mood swings are extreme after hitting the bottle, it could be possible that you have a sulphite sensitivity or allergy (which are common). And there's an ever-growing body of scientists arguing that depression is closely tied to food allergies.

On top of that, white wine has tons of sugar in it—typically at least 50 percent more than red wine. According to The Washington Post, a five-ounce pour of a semisweet wine such as Riesling can contain a staggering 14 grams of sugar. Throw in some sugar highs and crashes (or at least that relentlessly punishing hangover one gets the morning after downing tons of champagne) and you've basically got a cocktail (pun intended) that is bound to be effective in fueling emotional meltdowns and drunken (or post-drunken) self-reflection disasters.

And maybe, like many women, you're a lightweight and don't realize it. For better or for worse, women experience higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol, and not just by a little. According to the University of Notre Dame, ladies absorb about 30 percent more alcohol into their bloodstreams than men of their same weight who has had the same number and strength of drinks, mainly due to their women's higher concentration of body fat and lower quantity of body water.

Does this mean you should forgo white wine altogether if you're married to your evening glass of white but are also livin' la vida loca? Nah. But if the tears from your sobs are spilling into your bathwater night after night with a magnum of Vouvray by your side, it might be worth considering switching to something a little more mood-friendly.

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in January 2015.