I have often been amazed at the contradictory results of research studies on food and drink. One day something is good for your health, then a few weeks down the line the same thing is described as being harmful.
Red wine, however, has been consistently promoted as being good for the heart and in a new report on the effects of alcohol consumption on weight gain red wine comes out tops again.
Lu Wang, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues studied 19,220 U.S. women age 39 or older, all of whom, at the start of the study, were of normal, healthy weight. They were all asked about their drinking habits and then their weight was logged over a period of 13 years. They all managed to gain at least a little weight, but those women who drank no alcohol at all showed the greatest weight gain. 41% became overweight with nearly 4% (732) actually becoming obese.
Those with the least weight gain were the ladies who drank between 180 ml and 500 ml of alcohol per day. When the results were further refined, red wine produced the best results. A standard glass of wine is usually 120 ml.
The research team does, however, caution us with the usual advice on the adverse effects of drinking too much alcohol. Drinking a lot of beer and lager is normally associated with a beer belly which can be as unhealthy as being obese. Equally one really can’t imagine anyone drinking 500 ml of spirits a day to be particularly healthy.
The French are great wine drinkers, of course. Most of them wouldn’t think of eating at midday or in the evening without a glass or two of wine. Even hospital patients are served a glass of wine with their meals! They drink the wine that’s local to them and is usually excellent value for money and has a fairly light body. Drinking 2 or 3 glasses of heavy red wine or with a strong tannin content is not their style, so when you trot down to your local Tesco’s take a look at the French wine section first.
A final tip; make sure that it says “appellation controle” and has a minimum alcohol content of 12%.