7 Ways to Stay Healthy and Drink Wine
Ever notice the lack of consideration that dieting has for your wine habit? How are you supposed to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle if it completely removes a wine lover’s reason to live? Not to worry, there has been overwhelming evidence pointing to wine as a healthy form of booze when consumed in moderation. Here’s how you can stay healthy and still enjoy wine.
The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine.
- Know wine’s calories
- Earn your glass
- Don’t drink before you eat
- Do drink dry red wine
- Don’t drink too late
- Do spend more on wine
- Drink wine away from home
First things first – everyone’s physiology is different. If you are seriously overweight or have a severe condition, talk to your doctor about your health.
1. Know the calories in wine
“If you are already thin and healthy, alcohol intake does not seem to affect weight gain.”
referenced from Alcohol Alert, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
Most wine has anywhere from 130-175 calories per glass. If you’d like to find out the specifics on a particular wine, check out the wine nutrition facts infographic . The interesting thing about wine calories is that our bodies digest alcohol (ethanol) differently than we digest food because it is a toxic substance. Our bodies send excess ethanol into a complex metabolic process involving our liver which eventually releases acetic acid that is secreted (a.k.a. we pee it out) so it doesn’t all get converted to energy. It’s important to note that everyone’s physiology is different: women, Asians, Native Americans and Inuits secrete less alcohol than Caucasian males.
What’s weird is that if you are drinking at a rate higher than you can metabolize alcohol, you are more likely to NOT absorb all its calories. This doesn’t mean you can go out and drink a bottle of wine, it just means that alcohol calories are a little more forgiving than say… ice cream calories.
How much wine is too much wine?
Heavy drinking is about 3+ drinks for a man and 2+ drinks for a women daily. Do your health a favor and acclimate your body to about half of that as a good example of moderate drinking behavior. Some of the longest lived people on earth drink about this much wine every day.
- + (women)
2. Earn your glass of wine before you drink
Walking in the early evening will help keep your metabolism up and will also slow down the ‘need to feed’ impulse that we often have at the end of the day. Walking is natural decompression. This habit may help reduce over drinking as well.
Setting your diet up for success means increasing your metabolism. What’s interesting about wine is that it also increases metabolism for about 70-90 minutes. It’s important to drink water when you consume wine and liquor to maintain the balance of water in your cells since alcohol is a diuretic. You’ll note that beer is different than wine and causes cells to swell.
“Men and women who drink alcohol tend to have a stable body weight over a decade of observation compared with their non-drinking counterparts, whose weight increases”
A prospective study of alcohol intake and change in body weight among US adults Pubmed.gov
3. Don’t drink before you eat
Drinking wine before you eat has shown to increase appetite when consumed 30 minutes before eating so save your wine for your meal. If you love to cook and drink at the same time, try splitting your glass of wine into 2 servings of 3 ounces each.
Also, having wine on a full stomach will make it so you’ll be less likely to feel the effects and more likely to absorb all of the associated calories.
4. Drink dry red wine
Red wine has shown to have much higher antioxidants than other wines. Pay attention to the alcohol level when purchasing a bottle and attempt to keep it below 13.5% ABV. Find out about the amazing health benefits of red wine.
5. Don’t drink too late at night
Alcohol behaves similar to carbohydrates in our bodies, so resist drinking too late. You will also be able to have higher quality rest if you stop all eating and drinking for the day around 8 to 8:30pm –that is if you go to sleep around 12am.
6. Spend more on a bottle of wine
In order to change our habits, we have to put value around the things we eat. If you spend a little more on your bottle of wine, it will encourage you to enjoy it over a period of several days. You can easily preserve your red or white wine in the fridge with a vacuum pump wine sealer. Sparkling wines will last up to 4 days with a Champagne stopper.
7. Separate your wine drinking experience from home
We humans are lazy, so if temptation isn’t close by we are less likely to indulge. If you’re on a strict diet, remove indulgent foods and drinks from your house. By all means, you can still have a drink at night! Why not walk to a neighborhood wine bar and meet a friend?
BONUS: wine as an aphrodisiac
A little wine could actually help you get into the mood. We are not doctors so don’t take our word for it, instead look at the facts:
- Wine increases blood flow and causes a warm tingling sensation on the skin.
- Ethanol is a glutamate inhibitor and slows down brain activity – this will keep you from getting distracted!
You don’t need that much for the effects; just a splash.
Liu S, Sedula MK, Williamson DF, et al. A prospective study of alcohol intake and change in body weight among US adults. Am J Epidemiol 1994;140:912–20.
Lawrence Feinman and Charles S Lieber. Ethanol and lipid metabolism1,2,3. American Society for Clinical Nutrition 1999;
Klesges, R. C., et al. Effects of alcohol intake on resting energy expenditure in young women social drinkers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1994, 59, 805-809.
Frary, Carol D. and Johnson, Rachel K. “Chapter 2: Energy” in Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy, 12th ed. 2008.