Wine and Weight Gain in Women: 10 Reasons a Bit Is Good & More Is Not

by Marsha Hudnall MS, RDN, CD

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To drink or not to drink, that is the question.

wine and weight gain in womenIf you read the headlines about wine and weight gain, you’re probably confused – some studies say alcohol encourages weight gain, others not so much.

Other weight loss resorts may encourage eliminating wine from your diet completely, but at Green Mountain, we lean toward the old adage “everything in moderation.”

10 Tips on Wine and Weight

Our #1 reason why wine can help with healthy weight management:

1Alcohol has a relaxing effect.

If a person doesn’t have a problem with alcohol, a drink can be a nice addition to a pleasant and healthy meal. Moderation for women is considered 1 drink/day or 12 oz of beer, 1 shot of alcohol, 4 or 5 ounces of wine.

Drinking beyond moderation, however, can create a host of potential problems for health and healthy weight management. It’s not the calories — the “side effects” of alcohol can be the real saboteurs.

While the occasional overindulgence probably doesn’t cause too much havoc, consistently overdoing it may lead to:

2Increased food consumption

Individuals with a strong diet mentality, aka all-or-nothing thinking, are more likely to gravitate toward self-labeled “forbidden foods” with a buzz going.

3Increased appetite and cravings

Some people find alcohol revs up their appetite. What’s more, alcohol can interfere with restful sleep. Sleep deprivation can create imbalances in appetite-regulating hormones that increase hunger and may encourage carbohydrate cravings.

4Insulin resistance

Chronic heavy drinking may actually encourage insulin resistance, which can result in blood-sugar roller coaster rides, during which you may eat to self medicate.

5Increased, not decreased, stress

Cortisol, a stress hormone, appears to stay at high levels for heavy drinkers compared to those who abstain. Elevated cortisol levels have the potential to increase appetite and belly fat and negatively affect sleeping patterns.

6Reduced muscle mass

In addition to strength training, higher levels of growth hormone also play a role in helping to maintain muscle mass. Alcohol suppresses production of this hormone and as a result may encourage a loss of muscle mass and decline in metabolic rate.

7Inhibited metabolism

Too much alcohol can compromise the liver’s ability to effectively perform essential steps in the detoxification process. Consistently high levels of circulating toxins can lead to chronic inflammation, which can affect hunger, appetite and metabolism in several ways.

8Suppressed fat burning

Generally speaking, the body uses alcohol metabolites as an energy source before lipids or fat. So when alcohol is present, fat is less likely to be burned for energy.

9Increased intake the following day

Hangovers keep us from operating at peak performance. Our blood sugar tends to dip too low with a hangover and we may need to eat more the following day to correct this. Also, many people report that high-fat foods are more appealing when they are hungover.

10Increased risk of not exercising

One last consideration regarding wine and weight: Are you really going to be motivated to keep up an exercise routine with a hangover?

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