Witness – if you dare! – the ongoing complexity of the relationship between wine and your health:
Back in January, I offered some advice about drinking wine when you’re on a diet. In summary: wine has calories, so if you’re watching your weight you need to watch your alcohol intake as well.
That article became pretty popular, and ever since posting it I’ve been on the lookout for a follow-up on the topic. Six months later, I’ve had readers (separately) send me links to two very interesting – and very different – answers to the question: Does this wine make me look fat?
Answer #1: NO
According to ScienceDaily.com, our old pal resveratrol – a substance found in red wine – might aid in the conversion of fat. From the article:
“When cells were exposed to resveratrol, our studies showed a pretty dramatic reduction in the conversion to fat cells and a lesser but still significant increase in the mobilization of existing fat…”
Sounds like good news for those looking to drink wine and cut their fat. But not so fast there, Richard Simmons…
Answer #2: YES
Resveratrol might help stave off some fat, but Bodybuilding.com cites a study that showed alcohol to mess with the body’s ability to process fat – and not in a positive way.
“For several hours after drinking… whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by 73%.”
Now, that study only had eight participants – hardly enough for statistical certainty. But it suggests that the relationship between alcoholic beverages and our bodies’ fat burning potential isn’t a simple one.
So which one is it?
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell. The only thing we know for sure is that wine has alcohol, and alcohol has calories, and consuming too many calories will probably get stored by your body as fat. Call me a sour-puss, but as far as I’m concerned there’s no fat-bustin’ magic bullet here. Better stick to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and enjoying your fave vino with the appropriate amount of moderation.
No doubt that a glass or two of red vino can awaken your youthful enthusiasm, under the right circumstances of course (dining with friends, during a hot date…).
But can red wine literally make you young at heart? As in, keeping your ticker from aging?
Apparently it might, according to this article released today by BBC News.
Actually, what the article states is that our old friend Resvertatrol, a compound found in red wines, appears to be able to do this – for mice.
Actually, what the article states is that Resveratrol in substantially larger quantities than can be safely delivered to your body through normal amounts of responsible red wine drinking, might have an anti-aging effect on heart genes.
When we hit a real health breakthrough with wine compounds that has a positive impact on humans, we’ll know it – because it will be much bigger news than any of these important (but inconclusive) lead-up studies.
If I sound skeptical, it’s not because I think this type of research isn’t valuable. It’s because the media oversells this research a bit, thereby fueling a specious supplement market. And because I like to skeptical. And cynical (I know… what a jerk!).
Don’t be too swayed by the media around this. When we hit a real health breakthrough with wine compounds that has a positive impact on humans, we’ll know it – because it will be much bigger news than any of these important (but inconclusive) lead-up studies.
In the meantime, if you want to get some health benefit from red wine, then enjoy a glass tonight and let the joy of connecting with that wine allow your hair to come down for a few minutes. It will probably do just as much good (maybe more) than the resveratrol that you’re consuming at the same time…