It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Does having a glass of wine every night affect weight loss?
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