You may have heard that drinking wine can help you lose weight. It may sound contradictory, but there are studies to back up this assertion. Researchers have also found that drinking moderate amounts of red wine may be good for your heart, your cognitive health, and even cells in your body that fend off cancer. Taken at face value, these facts might make you want to give up beer and become a full-fledged wine-o!
But the question remains: is drinking wine regularly really a dependable method for weight loss? After all, drinking alcohol, and especially too much of it, is often linked to poor decision making. People are more inclined to reach for high-carb, low-nutrient foods when under the influence of alcohol. It is also much harder to hit the gym after a night of drinking. Science would suggest that, rather than investing in several bottles of wine a night, renewing your gym membership is probably still a better method for weight loss.
Hitting the Gym Hard for Weight Loss
Anyone who tells you losing weight is easy without exercise is probably pulling your leg. Exercise is necessary for weight loss. However, weight loss is not automatic for everyone who exercises. For example, take someone who is already fit and hits the gym regularly. They are giving their body the best chance to burn off fat and keep muscle tone, flexibility, and cardiovascular strength. Such a body is well-equipped to maintain a healthy weight.
For those of us that carry extra weight or are obese, exercise is absolutely necessary for weight loss. Weight loss does not happen immediately, however. When we exercise, we burn fat but also build muscle. As you may have heard, muscle weighs more than fat. Exercise helps improve body composition and overall fitness and metabolic health, both of which can indirectly help keep extra pounds off.
How Drinking Wine in Moderation Can Help You Lose Weight
The research most often referenced which links wine consumption to weight loss comes from studies performed by Washington State University and Harvard Medical School. The tests performed on mice showed that a polyphenol found in wine called resveratrol has a positive effect on fat cells. Resveratrol converts “white fat” cells into an obesity-fighting fat that is easier to lose. Resveratrol is sometimes even taken as its own supplement in an effort to support cardiovascular health and protect brain health.
Another study performed at Harvard Medical school focused on 20,000 women. The study concluded that the women who were wine drinkers had a 70 percent reduced risk of developing obesity. However, it should be noted that this study relied on the women to self-report their weight over time. I think it is also worth noting that there are cultural factors to consider. For instance, wine is generally more expensive than beer, which means people who drink wine may in general have better options for healthcare such as a gym membership.
Grapes, strawberries, blueberries and apples are especially rich in resveratrol. Quite a bit of the polyphenol resveratrol is filtered out of grapes when wine is made. So in the end, eating fruit is far more healthy than drinking wine. Fruit is an incredibly healthy food because many fruits are naturally full of essential nutrients like vitamins, potassium and dietary fiber, while being low in fat.
So what does this all mean? Drinking wine in moderation can be healthy, especially if you find it helps you wind down after a stressful day. But drinking wine is not a magic weight loss elixir. If you do not consider yourself a wine drinker, it is not as if today is the day you should start. Drinking wine may be healthier in general than drinking beer, but fruit is much more healthy than wine. In the end, nutrition and exercise win the day, every time.