Drinking to lose weight?

Another for-women-only post. I had been debating on whether or not to put these two up, but was encouraged by (female) friends when I asked their opinions.

I found this article in the NY Times. Reported this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, this is based on a study of 19,220 United States women aged 39 or older who, at the start of the study, fell into the “normal weight” category based on their body mass index. They tracked the drinking habits across the span of 13 years; about 60 percent of the women were light or regular drinkers, while about 40 percent reported drinking no alcohol.

Over the course of the study, 41 percent of the women became overweight or obese. Although alcohol is packed with calories (about 150 in a six-ounce glass of wine), the nondrinkers in the study actually gained more weight over time: nine pounds, on average, compared with an average gain of about three pounds among regular moderate drinkers. The risk of becoming overweight was almost 30 percent lower for women who consumed one or two alcohol beverages a day, compared with nondrinkers.

Metabolic studies show that after men drink alcohol, they experience little if any metabolic change. But alcohol appears to slightly speed up a woman’s metabolism. The link between consumption of red wine and less weight gain was particularly pronounced in the Archives study. It has been suggested that resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, appears to inhibit the development of fat cells and to have other antiobesity properties.

The findings don’t mean women should rush to drink alcohol to lose weight. Other research shows that once a person is already overweight, her alcohol metabolism is more efficient, and so an overweight woman may gain more weight from alcohol than a lean woman. The data do, however, suggest that for many women facing weight problems, the extra calories are probably not coming from alcoholic beverages.

In a nutshell, a glass or two of wine a night, may actually help you.

Author: Jason Zajdel

Learning as I go along. It’s an awesome ride. =-)