Italian wine, particularly of the red variety, has long been associated with helping to prevent various illnesses. Heart disease, some forms of cancer and even strokes can be prevented if you drink red wine moderately and often.
However, there is recent evidence to suggest that drinking a glass of wine a day is even better for you than we first thought. Some are saying that, in addition to all of the health benefits that are already associated with wine, that you can also lose weight by drinking a glass every day.
Of course, for those who are looking to lose a little bit of weight but still want to enjoy a nice glass of wine on a regular basis, this is excellent news. Here we take a look at some of the evidence to support the theory and see how much of it actually makes sense.
Calories For Calories?
The main crux of the argument for wine being able to help a person lose weight is that the calories that you gain in wine work “differently” to the ones you get from other foods. This is true, in many respects, as alcohol does not translate into calories quite as easily as one might assume, with the drink doing more to help you to retain your existing fat than it does to build more onto you. As such, you can feel a little safer drinking a little more if you are already in good shape, without having to worry too much about putting on more weight unless you are eating more food in addition to the wine.
However, there have also been a number of controlled laboratory tests that show that substituting a glass of wine for a piece of food over a long period of time will lead to a subject losing weight, which is difficult to comprehend when you consider that calories are meant to be interchangeable.
Remember that the calorie system is essentially a measure of how much energy a portion of food contains. It began in the 1880s with the research of Wilbur Atwater, who would burn pieces of food in a furnace to discover what level of heat that they produced and then use that figure to determine the amount of calories that the piece of food contained. This is where he found that high-fat foods burned hot, thus emitting 9 calories per gram, while proteins and carbohydrates offered 4 calories per gram.
Now it is important to note this testing method when considering alcohol. As we all know, alcohol is highly combustible, so you can imagine the results when Atwater placed a drop of any alcohol in his furnace. It burns quickly and hotly, which led to alcohol being assigned the high calorie designation that it has, at lease when compared to other liquids.
The issue now is that many are saying that the principles behind this research are flawed and only work if we consider our bodies to be like a furnace, burning through the calories that we need while keeping the rest stored as fat for later consumption. However, some experts are claiming that this is an inaccurate system, pointing towards scientific tests involving nuts, which are high in calories but do not lead to weight gain if consumed in large quantities.
It appears that in both cases something more complex than the calories system needs to be put in place, as the same effect as being seen when drinking a glass of wine every day as well.
Some believe that the Glycemic Index (GI), which is a measure of how much glucose different foods produce in the bloodstream, is actually a much better measure of how much weight you will gain. Foods with a high GI score, such as breads and cakes, will lead to you putting on a lot of weight if the energy isn’t used to power muscles, whereas foods and alcohol produce very little glucose and thus result in no weight gain.
So, to provide a quick round-up, the calorie descriptions on your bottles of wine may not be a particularly useful indicator of how much weight you could expect to put on should you drink a glass of it. In fact, it appears that drinking a glass of wine a day is practically harmless to your body in terms of weight gain, at least if consumed as a standalone beverage.
One thing to keep in mind is that alcohol stimulates the appetite, so if you consume it in larger volumes you are going to find yourself wanting to eat more food. This, naturally, can lead to weight gain if done often enough so it is something that should be avoided as far as possible, unless you are planning to drink your wine alongside a nice meal already.
In short, as is usually the case, moderation is the key to everything. While the research is still not quite certain on why a glass of wine a day may be able to help you lose weight, clinical tests have demonstrated that exact result in mice and it appears that the calorie system that we have relied upon for so long may not be capable of measuring certain types of food, such as wines or nuts. Instead, consider the Glycemix Index of each of the foods that you consume as well, if it is available, as this should help you to get a more balanced view of what is in your food.
To conclude, the best way to enjoy your wine is to make it a part of a healthy and balanced diet. By eating fatty foods alongside your wine, you will see little in the way of weight loss achieved. However, by sticking to a healthy diet and consuming a glass of wine a day, you will not only protect yourself from ailments such as heart disease or strokes, but you may also find that you are able to lose a little extra weight.