As we help our clients put together their weight loss plan or anti-aging regimens, one question we hear often is, “Can I have a little wine?” We all know that too much alcohol is a bad thing, and that wine also contains calories (like any alcoholic beverage). But you might also have seen the numerous reports on the supposed “health benefits” of wine. So which is it? Should you avoid wine altogether, or can a little bit of wine fit nicely into your healthy living routine?
The first thing to address is correlation versus causation. Yes, numerous studies have pointed to a link between moderate red wine consumption and a lowered risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. However, researchers don’t yet know whether red wine causes those effects, or if people who drink red wine also tend to practice other healthy behaviors that lower their risk of these diseases.
For instance, many people who drink red wine also eat what’s called a “Mediterranean diet” full of fresh fruits, veggies, fish, and healthy fats. We don’t know if it’s the diet or the wine, or even both, that lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. So maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s an overall lifestyle. We simply don’t know for sure.
As for the calories, those are your main concern with regard to a weight loss plan. Wine, like any alcoholic beverage, contains “empty calories” (units of energy without any particular nutritional benefits). When you’re following a low-calorie weight loss plan, it can be difficult to fit in very many empty calories without undermining your nutritional needs. And so, the empty calories in wine pose a certain concern for this group of people.
And of course, getting a bit tipsy can cause you to lose your judgement, and you might overeat on other foods as well.
Studies do show that red wine contains higher levels of resveratrol, an antioxidant that is believed to confer some health benefits. So if you’re going to drink a little bit of wine anyway, make it red. As for the calories, and how a glass of wine can fit into your daily eating plan, let’s discuss that at your next appointment. We can help you determine the number of calories you should be eating for a successful weight loss plan, and help you figure out how to fit the occasional treat into your new lifestyle.