Monday, June 27, 2011

Is Wine Fattening? You be the Judge....

In a lot of countries around the world, the obesity problem is gradually increasing . It has been reported in Australia that greater than 60% of adults are now classified as overweight. However, is this because of the food we consume or the drink we consume? Today, alcohol seems to be put into the same class as fatty foods, soft drinks and sugar. Does this mean that we should limit or cut out the amount of alcohol we drink? This may seem a logical thing to do, as some health authors have suggested that excess alcohol will decrease the body's ability to burn fat. However, is the idea of cutting out all alcohol consumption really helpful?

To properly answer the question, you need to determined what is defined as "excessive alcohol". The recommendations set out by the National Health and Medical Research Council state that men should have no more than four standard glasses of wine per day, while women should not have more than two glasses per day. Therefore, since most people in Australia today would consume that amount or lower, it can be determined that a glass a day would be deemed to be low-risk in terms of damage to your liver or associated organs. But how will this affect the dieter?

The Australian Wine Research Group has found that drinking wine in moderation is not a significant problem for the majority of people. However, most wines will contain some sugar, and this is the leftover from the fermentation process. This is the main reason why some uninformed people think that wine can make you fat. Sugar itself has no fat in it, but any sugars you consume that you don't later burn off, either through exercise or metabolism, will be stored by the body as fat. But, it has been found that only 6% of caloric intake in moderate wine drinkers is due to the wine they drink, which means that other sources account for 94% of the total caloric intake. To illustrate this, an average glass of wine and a chocolate bar may have the same number of calories, but the chocolate bar may be more dangerous to the dieter because it may also have 15-20g of fat in it as well.

So what's the verdict?

Wine itself is not necessarily fattening, as there is no fat in it. However, a bag of sugar is fat free as well. The key factor is your lifestyle. If you are trying to lose weight, you MUST burn off more calories than you consume. However, what if you're the type who enjoys a glass or two of wine at dinner? There may be a light at the end of the tunnel! Dr John Dixon of Monash University's Department of Surgery conducted research into obesity and diet for a PhD. His test group were obese individuals who had lap-band surgery as a way of losing weight. What was interesting from the results were that those people who drank more than 100 grams per week of alcohol, especially wine had a significantly greater weight loss (ie 50% of excess weight lost in the first year) than those who had no or very little consumption. Using this data, Dr Dixon concluded that the "results demonstrate that light to moderate alcohol consumption, especially wine consumption, is associated with a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, improved insulin sensitivity and more favourable cardiovascular risk profile in the severely obese." It can also be assumed that wine can have similar results and benefits to people who are not obese.

Even though in itself, wine is not fattening, there are calories in every glass of wine, and if these are not burnt off, they will likely be stored as excess body fat. So, as long as moderation is the theme of your wine consumption, enjoying a glass or two of wine at dinner will not adversely affect your diet if you are trying to lose weight. So long as you stick to the recommended limit, or even lower, you can still enjoy a glass or two of wine.

Doug has been writing articles online for over 3 years now. Although he specializes in financial topics such as commodities and equities, you can check out his latest website,, which gives all the latest news, reviews and helpful articles about all topics wine-related, such as how to find the perfect wine rack, and all other wine-related accessories

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