We’ve all heard that a glass of red wine a day will help you keep the doctor away, at least away from your heart. The implication is that red wine s good for your heart. Now a new study may give women yet another reason to have a glass or two of their favorite wine every day as they sit down for dinner.
One reason why women sometimes eliminate alcohol from their lifestyle is because they are making an effort to lose weight and because most alcohol beverages have a lot of sugar, it makes sense to eliminate them. Now, taking this new study into consideration, those who are concerned with their weight may not have to be.
Drink and Shrink?
Earlier this year, the Archives of Internal Medicine published what may be the best news for booze since the 21st Amendment. Researchers found that women who had one or two alcoholic drinks a day were actually less likely to gain weight than those who shunned the sauce. And they did it while consuming more calories overall (from food and drink) than both heavy drinkers and teetotalers.
Short of striking a deal with the devil, how did they manage to pull that off? Researchers believe that the bodies of long-term moderate drinkers somehow adapt to metabolize alcohol differently than heavy or occasional drinkers. They use more energy, burning the calories in the drink—or even more than that—while digesting it, says Lu Wang, M.D., Ph.D., the lead researcher of the study and an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Researchers are still working out the specifics of how and why this happens, but they’ve figured out that for women who drink up to eight ounces of an alcoholic beverage a day, those calories simply don’t end up as extra fat.
Of course, there’s a catch. Women who bank their daily drinks for weekends or girls’ nights out don’t qualify for the free-calorie plan (and among the 18-to-25 crowd, this “binge” behavior is on the rise, according to a 2009 Addiction study). “Your body adjusts metabolically to the amount you drink, and when you don’t drink regularly, your body can’t adjust,” says Wang. Instead of learning to disregard those nutritionally empty calories, your body automatically stores them—as fat. It’s akin to tossing old clothes you don’t wear into the back of your closet, only your body doesn’t have the good sense to hide the junk. It tends to store the fat front and center, in your belly.