Is Red Wine Making Me Fat?

With all of the conflicting news that comes out daily about the health benefits of red wine, a headline I saw this morning about whether the calories in red wine matter finally made me stop and take a minute to think about it.  Is red wine making me fat?  A girl has to think about these things…

For those of us who seem to live perpetually on a diet, and who seem to be forever on the treadmill burning off the calories from too many glasses of wine with the girls, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is:

  • Red wine does not make you fat
  • Red wine has few to no carbs and no fat
  • Red wine consumption helps reduce stress
  • Red wine contains free radical eliminating antioxidants
  • Your body digests alcohol calories before any other calories, even food
  • A study of 19,000 women showed that women who drink tend not to be obese as they age

It seems weird to me that wine, which is made from the fermented sugar in grape juice, has few to no carbs. SCIENCE, go figure.

The bad news is that, while red wine consumption does all of these great things for your body, it also has some negative effects that could result in you gaining weight.  Damn! I knew it was too good to be true.

When we drink our inhibitions are lowered.  Of course they are, WE’RE DRUNK!

But really, the alcohol in the wine:

  • Causes a drop in blood sugar which spikes your hunger.  So, while the wine itself isn’t making you fat, the hot buttered popcorn, chocolate cake, or pizza you wolf down while drinking that wine may very well if you do it too frequently.
  • Stimulates your hypothalamus.  Galanin, produced by the hypothalamus, makes you crave fatty foods, alcohol, sex, and also controls your bladder.

Tips if you are worried about calories:

  • Higher Alcohol = Higher Calories.  If you want low calories drink wines with lower alcohol percentages.  Many red wines are above 15% ABV.
  • Drink dry wines. Generally, the drier the wine the lower the sugar, but check the tech sheet for the wine (where the grapes were grown+how the wine was aged + residual sugar in the wine). RS is usually displayed 1 of 3 ways: in grams/Liter, in grams/ 100ml, or as a %.
  • Avoid wines from hotter areas like Temecula, CA.  Grapes get very ripe which results in wines with more sugar, a higher alcohol %, so more calories.
  • Avoid cheap wines (generally wines below $10).  They make up for lack of quality/aging by adding sugar after fermentation.
  • Drink French wines.  France has strict regulations, less chance of added sugar and generally lower alcohol percentages.

“No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad—and there’s a reason. A study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat, which is why bacon and scrambled eggs the next morning are so satisfying.” Dr. Edward Miller, Wine & Health

Calories By Wine Type

  • Dry White: Calories 110-170, Carbs 2-4 g
  • Off-Dry White: Calories 110-170, Carbs 5-30 g
  • Red: Calories 130-190, Carbs 1-3 g
  • Dry Sparkling: Calories 150, Carbs 1-7 g
  • Sweet Wine, Sweet Sparkling Wine: Calories 200-250+, Carbs 30-100+ g

Of course the calorie counts will vary with the quality of the wine and your glass size. Who really drinks a 5 oz pour? #FunLisaWineOh #GirlsGoneWine


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