Can Wine Help You Lose Weight?

Can a glass of wine help you shed those last few pounds? Please let it be true.

You’ve probably seen the headlines over the last while proclaiming that drinking wine may help promote weight loss. If we’re being honest, it does sound a little too good to be true…drinking your way down to a smaller pant size? Surely, it’s the stuff of dreams. But as incredulous as it may sound, there may be a grain of truth to the claims.

Wine and Weight Loss

Unlocking the Secrets of the Grape

The health benefits often attributed to wine are thought to be the result of resveratrol. This phenolic compound is found in grape skins, as well as in peanuts and other fruits like raspberries and blueberries. It has been the subject of much excitement in the scientific and health communities. While more research is needed (particularly with human subjects), several studies have indicated that resveratrol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help with everything from heart disease and cancer to obesity and weight loss.

Resveratrol vs Body Fat

One study indicated that resveratrol helps convert white fat, which stores energy, into brown fat, which burns calories to help keep us warm and can lead to overall less weight gain. The problem? The study was performed on mice. All the same, the implications are exciting. It’s enough to make us want to pour ourselves a glass of wine with dinner. You know, just in case.

If the jury is still out, then how do we know if a glass of wine can help with weight loss?

Wine, and indeed most alcohol, acts as an appetite suppressant. If you sip on a glass of wine with your meal, it may decrease your overall levels of hunger and result in you eating a smaller portion of food and thus, fewer overall calories. Wine also aids with digestion. Red wine, in particular, is thought to be a boon to ‘good’ bacteria found in your digestive tract which help break down food.

Wine & Weight Loss: The Reality

Varieties of Wine and Weight Loss Effects

While some of the phenolic compounds in wine may help with weight loss there’s one essential fact never to forget. While wine doesn’t contain fat, if you consume more calories than you burn off, you won’t lose any weight.

Here are a couple of things to bear in mind when you’re choosing wine while on a diet:

  • White wine and rosé have fewer calories than red wines.
  • If you’re watching your calorie intake, avoid dessert wines like Port, Sauternes, and fully sweet Rieslings.
  • Typically speaking, the higher the alcohol by volume (ABV), the more calories there will be in your wine. However, some low alcohol wines can be very high in alcohol due to the fact they may have a higher sugar content. Check the label before you buy.
  • Measure your pours. This way, you can track how much wine you’re consuming and watch your calorie count. To get the benefits found in wine without going overboard, stick to a standard 5 oz pour.
  • If you’re worried about wasting wine, invest in a wine preservation system to keep your bottle fresh or purchase half bottles.
  • Although there are plenty of headlines preaching that “drinking two glasses of red wine before bed can help you lose weight,” this isn’t actually the best advice. Enjoy your wine with a meal and allow your body time to digest the contents of your stomach before you hit the hay.
  • As always, it’s good to practice moderation when it comes to enjoying a glass of wine during the week.

The number of calories varies depending on the wine. To calculate calories, multiply the number of ounces by the alcohol by volume, then multiply that number by 1.6. Your equation will look something like this: oz x ABV x 1.6 = total calories.

How to Get the Most Out of a Glass of Wine

Physically Fit People Drinking Red Wine

  • To reap the potential weight loss effects of wine, stick to one to two glasses at most, maintain a healthy, balanced diet, and get plenty of exercise.
  • Instead of cracking open a bottle of beer or sipping on a fruity cocktail, opt for a glass of wine instead.
  • If you like to occasionally indulge in an adult libation, wine, regardless of its color, has fewer calories than either beer or sugary cocktails, as well as the added benefit of antioxidants like resveratrol, which we covered above.
  • Just don’t go overboard and take down a cheese plate every time you reach for a glass of your favorite Cabernet.

Related: Beginner’s guide to wine (explained by a sommelier)

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Illustration credit: unitypoint.org