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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does wine affect weight loss?

Does having a glass of wine every night affect weight loss?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

two wineglasses containing red wine next to a plate of grapes, cheese, and crackers

Even though that glass of wine has about 150 calories, those who drink alcohol on a regular basis do have a lower risk of being obese. In a study published in 2005, Drs. Ahmed and Rohrer looked at over 8,000 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 46% of the respondents were classified as "current drinkers." This group was much less likely to be obese. In another study of Danish adults, researchers found that those having between 1 and 7 drinks per week had the smallest waist circumference.

There are many such studies to support that drinking alcohol in moderation is good for our health. However, when I am asked in lectures about this I always say "If you enjoy having a drink or two, that's OK," but I never encourage those who don't want to drink to start to do so. I don't see that this is the same as, say, recommending eating more fish.

All of that said, it appears that having a glass of wine each night may actually help with your weight loss, although the study I mentioned only shows correlation and not causality. Here's more information on alcohol in the Mediterranean Diet.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet