Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can Alcohol Curb Weight Gain?

The French are lovers of high-fat diet yet low rate of coronary heart disease is found among them. Perhaps there is something to do with the wine they consume regularly.

Red wine such as Madiran, (made from the tannat grape) stimulates enzymes so as to increase levels of nitric oxide, lower blood pressure, and inhibit plaque formation in arteries. Some studies have already shown that moderate alcohol drinkers have lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a predictor of heart disease, than non-drinkers. Alcohol is also known to have an anticoagulant effect reducing blood clots.

On March 8, 2010, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston reported in the “Archives of Internal Medicine”, a publication of the American Medical Association, that women who drink a few glasses of red wine, beer or spirits a day are better at losing weight than women who do not drink at all.

More than 19,000, normal-weight American women aged 39 or older were asked how many alcoholic beverages they typically drank in a day, and then these women were tracked for around 13 years.

Among the participants, 38 percent did not drink a drop, nearly 33 percent drank the equivalent of around a third of a 5-ounce glass of wine or a third of a 12-ounce beer, 20 percent drank the equivalent of up to a glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or a single-shot drink made with 80-proof spirits, 6 percent had up to 2 drinks a day, and the remaining 3 percent had more than 2 drinks.

Women who did not drink at all were found to gain the most weight and women who had the equivalent of 2 drinks a day were the least likely to gain weight.

Red wine seems to be the best drink to curb weight gain. However, all the 4 types of tipple included in the study, namely red wine, white wine, beer and spirits, indicated the same inverse association between alcohol intake and the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Nevertheless, the researchers warned against using alcohol as a tool to prevent overweight or obesity because of the potential medical and psycho-social problems associated with drinking.

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