We’ve all heard the saying that a glass of wine a day is good for our health. After all, low-moderate alcohol intake (~1 glass) has been found to reduce the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, and fatty liver disease. What about fat loss? Can a daily glass help you lose weight?
This cannot be true. Wine is a source of calories and don’t you have to reduce your calories in order to lose weight? Yes, while this is part of the equation it’s not the only way. Increasing energy expenditure will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day. If you recall, we recently covered a 2 part series on brown fat vs white fat (click here to view). Whereas white fat promotes fat storage, brown fat is highly thermogenic, meaning that it burns many calories in order to produce heat.
Why am I referencing brown fat?
Studies have uncovered that daily low-moderate alcohol consumption increases the “browning” of white adipose cells in mice. In two separate studies, mice were fed a moderate amount of alcohol (8% alc) every day for 1 month and 4 months. Despite a higher total caloric intake, mice gained significantly less weight then their non-alcohol control, which was attributed to higher energy expenditure. In fact, after 4 months of daily alcohol consumption the following was observed;
- Reduced white adipose mass and cell size.
- Increased activity of brown adipose genes.
- Reduced blood glucose, triglyceride, fatty acids.
The take home message is that a single glass of wine a day may yield some very beneficial health outcomes. These benefits quickly disappear with excessive alcohol consumption, and become harmful to your health.
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