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Red Wine May Aid Weight Control
9/8/2011
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A daily glass of red wine may help keep weight and belly fat in check, according to a new evidence review by researchers at Spain’s University of Navarra.
 
The authors analyzed data from 31 epidemiological studies, which reveal associations between foods in people’s diets and their health, without proving a cause-effect relationship (Sayon-Orea C et al. 2011).
 
In all of the studies, researchers had collected information on people’s alcohol consumption and body mass index.
 
The review paper’s authors noted that people tend to underestimate their weight and overestimate their height, which downplays their body mass index (BMI) … the measure used to gauge whether participants are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
 
However, one suspects that this underestimation of BMI would be more common among overweight people than among leaner participants, who would have less to “hide”.
 
How many calories
in a beer or cocktail?
Dry wines (red or white) and unsweetened hard liquors (vodka, gin, whiskey) are the least caloric drinks, ranging from 65 to 80 calories per ounce.
 
Beers’ carbohydrates bring them to about 150 per ounce, and added sugars raise liqueurs and cocktails from 170 to 190 calories per ounce.
 
(You’ll find a complete list of drink types and their calorie counts in the Alcohol Calorie Calculator posted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
 
Accordingly, depending on your overall calorie intake, drinking one or two ounces of unsweetened alcohol per day might not cause much weight gain, while sweetened drinks – or drinking any alcohol to excess – cause greater concern.
Red wine (in moderation) shines in evidence review
As the authors wrote, “… light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially wine intake, may be more likely to protect against weight gain, whereas consumption of spirits [is linked to] weight gain” (Sayon-Orea C et al. 2011).
 
Many of the studies linked greater body weight or abdominal adiposity (belly fat) among heavy or binge drinkers.
 
But most found no links between obesity and moderate drinking, with some studies finding lower body weight in moderate drinkers
 
In general, links between weight and alcohol were stronger in men, possibly due to their choices of alcoholic drink and higher average daily alcohol intake.
 
Some studies found difference between genders, while others found that both male and female heavy drinkers showed the greatest weight gain or had the highest rates of obesity.
 
Importantly, in the studies where researchers analyzed each type of alcoholic beverage separately, they found that, compared with non-drinkers, wine drinkers were at lower risk of obesity or excess belly fat.
 
In contrast, people who drank hard liquors were at higher risk of being overweight or obese.
 
For example, data from the most recent US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that, compared to non-drinkers “heavy” drinkers – defined as four or more drinks a day – had higher odds of being obese and overweight.
 
However, compared to non-drinkers, “light to moderate” drinking (one to two per day) came with significantly lower odds of being overweight and obesity.
 
And a Danish study among 42,696 adults found no serious weight problems in men or women who consumed one glass of wine a week to one glass per day, with the smallest waist circumference gain for those who drank slightly less than one glass of wine per day.
 
Red wine antioxidants may help keep bellies in check
The Spanish reviewers offered a plausible explanation why, in addition to healthier overall lifestyles, people who drink red wine seem at lower risk of weight problems.
 
As they said, the polyphenols in red wine – and related ones in cocoa, green tea and many fruits and vegetables – appear to inhibit creation of body fat (Ohyama K et al. 2011).
 
Polyphenols – especially the catechins and procyanidins that abound mostly in red grapes, red wine, cocoa, and green tea – do this in various ways:
  • Alter the bacterial ecology in your gut and colon (enterotype*), in ways that reduce inflammation and creation of body fat (Rastmanesh R 2011).
  • Reduce production of an estrogen-making enzyme in body fat called aromatase … a beneficial effect that leads to shrinking of fat cells and lower body weight (Wang Y et al. 2006).
  • Reduce inflammation, which is tied to both an increased risk of obesity and reduced risk of the metabolic diseases associated with obesity (Chuang CC, McIntosh MK 2011).
*The enterotype shifts wrought by consuming probiotic dairy products like yogurt tend to promote body fat. However, these changes also exert positive effects … see “Live Cultures May Lift Mood.
 
And resveratrol – a polyphenol compound found in red wine – reportedly reduces formation of new body fat, and inhibits expression of genes that help produce body fat (Beaudeux JL ET AL. 2010).
 
SIDEBAR
How many calories in that drink?
Dry wines (red or white) and unsweetened hard liquors (vodka, gin, whiskey) range from 65 to 80 calories per ounce.
 
Beers’ carbohydrates bring them to about 150 per ounce, and added sugars raise liqueurs and cocktails from 170 to 190 calories per ounce.
 
(You’ll find a complete list of drink types and their calorie counts in the Alcohol Calorie Calculator posted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
 
Accordingly, depending on your overall calorie intake, drinking one or two ounces of unsweetened alcohol per day might not cause much weight gain, while sweetened drinks – or drinking any alcohol to excess – cause greater concern.
END
 
 
Sources
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  • Beaudeux JL, Nivet-Antoine V, Giral P. Resveratrol: a relevant pharmacological approach for the treatment of metabolic syndrome? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Nov;13(6):729-36. Review.
  • Chuang CC, McIntosh MK. Potential mechanisms by which polyphenol-rich grapes prevent obesity-mediated inflammation and metabolic diseases. Annu Rev Nutr. 2011 Aug 21;31:155-76.
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  • Klaus S, Pültz S, Thöne-Reineke C, Wolfram S. Epigallocatechin gallate attenuates diet-induced obesity in mice by decreasing energy absorption and increasing fat oxidation. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Jun;29(6):615-23.
  • Lin J, Della-Fera MA, Baile CA. Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate inhibits adipogenesis and induces apoptosis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Obes Res. 2005 Jun;13(6):982-90.
  • Ohyama K, Furuta C, Nogusa Y, Nomura K, Miwa T, Suzuki K. Catechin-Rich Grape Seed Extract Supplementation Attenuates Diet-Induced Obesity in C57BL/6J Mice. Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;58(3):250-8. Epub 2011 Aug 9.
  • Rastmanesh R. High polyphenol, low probiotic diet for weight loss because of intestinal microbiota interaction. Chem Biol Interact. 2011 Jan 15;189(1-2):1-8. Epub 2010 Oct 15. Review.
  • Sayon-Orea C, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Bes-Rastrollo M. Alcohol consumption and body weight: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 2011 Aug;69(8):419-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00403.x.
  • Subbaramaiah K, Howe LR, Bhardwaj P, Du B, Gravaghi C, Yantiss RK, Zhou XK, Blaho VA, Hla T, Yang P, Kopelovich L, Hudis CA, Dannenberg AJ. Obesity is associated with inflammation and elevated aromatase expression in the mouse mammary gland. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Mar;4(3):329-46.
  • Wang Y, Lee KW, Chan FL, Chen S, Leung LK. The red wine polyphenol resveratrol displays bilevel inhibition on aromatase in breast cancer cells. Toxicol Sci. 2006 Jul;92(1):71-7. Epub 2006 Apr 11.
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