A group saying cheers with wine

Does alcohol affect weight loss?

I’m all about being healthy, but hey… I also believe in living it up a little! So if you run into me at a party, I’m likely to have a low-carb veggie appetizer in one hand, and a cocktail in the other. And if I’m serving a big Italian dinner, you can bet that I’ll pour a glass of Sangiovese to enjoy along with it.

Luckily, as it turns out, I can enjoy my indulgences without a smidgeon of guilt. That’s because research shows that a little alcohol can actually be good for you—and for your waistline.  (The key phrase here, of course, is a little.) Here are some of the findings that scientists are reporting:

  • Researchers collecting data from nearly 20,000 women found that “compared with non-drinkers, initially normal-weight women who consumed a light-to-moderate amount of alcohol experienced smaller weight gain and lower risk of becoming overweight and/or obese during 12.9 years of follow-up.”
  • In a study involving 108 patients with carotid atherosclerosis, researchers asked half of the patients to follow a modified Mediterranean diet and to exercise. Within this group, half of the patients drank red wine while the other half avoided alcohol. A second group continued their customary lifestyles, with half drinking red wine and the other half abstaining. The researchers found that a glass of red wine each day had very positive effects on health that were independent of dietary and lifestyle changes.

So go ahead and pour yourself a glass of red wine at dinner, or order a gin-and-tonic on girls’ night out. It’ll add a little sparkle to your evening, without doing you any harm. However, keep some cautions in mind.

First, avoid overdoing it. Unlike light drinking, heavy drinking can pack pounds on you—and it’s terrible for your liver, your skin, and your brain as well. And if you already have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (lots of people do—see my post earlier this week), you definitely don’t want to put any more stress on that liver.

Remember, too, that your ability to metabolize alcohol will lessen as you age, meaning that you can’t drink like you did a decade ago. (Well, technically, you can… but you’re gonna regret it later.)

I know it’s one thing to limit yourself to a single glass of wine at home, and another thing to toe the line when you’re at a wedding or party. If you tend to over-indulge at social events, try these tricks:

  • Alternate drinks with glasses of sparkling water.

  • Switch to drinking wine spritzers (half wine and half sparkling water). That way, you can have two glasses for the price of one.

  • If you use a step tracker or have a step-tracking app on your phone, walk at least 1,000 steps after you finish a drink before starting another.

Also, be smart about which booze you choose. Beer is loaded with carbs that will go straight to your belly. It also contains gluten (unless it’s specifically labeled as gluten-free), which can cause inflammation—another fat-promoter. Drinks containing commercial mixers are filled with sugar, which will hike your blood sugar and insulin levels and pack pounds on you.

So avoid beer and sugary mixers. Instead, reach for wine or distilled spirits, and use sin-free mixers like sparkling water or muddled berries. For more healthy ideas, check out my free ebook of cocktail recipes.

Follow these simple rules—be smart about how much you drink, and be smart about what you drink—and alcohol can be part of your slim, healthy lifestyle. That’s why I’m toasting you right now with a glass of Shiraz and saying alla tua salute—to your health!

P.S. If you’re doing the 21-Day Bone Broth Diet remember alcohol is on the NO list.

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!