“The devil is in the dose,” Dr. Taryn Forrelli always says.
Dr Forrelli, naturopathic physician based in San Francisco and co-founder of Flume formulas, regularly answers questions about alcohol consumption. The former vice president of products at Olly not only accepts the potential benefits of modest alcohol consumption – she embraces them.
In the pursuit of a clean life, craft alcohol seems to be the last frontier. Drinkers now want an option that complements their otherwise healthy and managed lifestyles.
“As far as spirits are concerned, mezcal is the best. Dr. Forrelli explained that mezcal, the alcohol chosen today by wellness freaks, is the purest execution of 100% agave. “From a clean label perspective, mezcal is naturally more trustworthy. ” Even vegan restaurants like Gracias Madre in West Hollywood pair jackfruit tacos with a reposado mezcal.
Dr Forrelli attributes the niche mezcal movement to the purity of its label. High quality brands in small batches like award winning brands Dos Perros Mezcal are made in Oaxaca, denomination of origin of mezcal, and contain only one ingredient: agave.
What about calories? “It’s all about your personal health goals,” noted Dr. Forrelli. “If sugar is your main concern, mezcal has the lowest sugar and calorie counts when served straight without a blender. But consuming the precious Mexican nectar in moderation also has potential health benefits, besides the obvious drop in cortisol levels and the jubilation that comes with sharing a drink with an old friend or relative.
“There is a prebiotic in the agave plant called agavin,” Dr. Forrelli said. “Agavin helps the fermentation process and does not increase blood sugar. Researchers believe these prebiotic fibers may help support the microbiome and regulate blood sugar, although there are no clinical studies in humans yet.
And while the daily emphasis on prebiotics and fermented eating is as localized in Los Angeles as the 405 traffic, mezcal has become popular. In 2019, Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston capitalized on their breaking Bad fame by launching their own Oaxacan mezcal in small batches.
Tequila vs. Mezcal
Mainstream consumers often think of mezcal as the edgy, smoky, and hot cousin of tequila. Drinkers appreciate its smoke and its bohemian feel. And although both spirits come from the same plant genus, the end products are very different.
Unlike tequila, the fermentation of mezcal is carried out using the whole mash from the agave core, including the prebiotic agavine fibers which have have shown clinical health benefits in animals. Conversely, the Tequila fermentation process does not include these prebiotics.
Then there is the veiled subject of additives. The US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) requires tequila alcohols to contain at least 51% agave by its standards of identity, leaving 49% wiggle room for sugars and artificial additives. For tequila enthusiasts interested in purity, this loophole in labeling can be quite a deterrent.
A common misconception about tequila is that it doesn’t cause a hangover. Dr Forrelli clarified that while any heavy drinking of alcohol on the body will always have negative effects, single-ingredient mezcals ingested without a blender can be easier to digest, minimizing hangover symptoms.
Dr Forrelli stressed that the suggested daily intake of 1 to 2 glasses per day should not be exceeded. While the potential health benefits of Fermented Whole Agave Heart Mash are still the subject of discreet research, the collective urge for single-ingredient labels and longevity is stronger than ever.
“People want a pure label,” Dr. Forrelli said. “And it doesn’t get any purer than mezcal.”