How to Make Wine a Healthy Part of Your Diet

It's easier than you think


What is your New Year’s resolution? I bet for many of you, myself included, it is to take better care of yourselves. That usually means trying to slim down.

While at first pass you might think that means cutting out the wine from your diet, there are a few things you should consider before taking such drastic measures. Reducing your intake of alcohol might certainly be in order, but there is a lot of medical evidence that shows that moderate alcohol can be part of a healthy diet. Even beyond the proven medical implications of wine consumption, there are several factors that argue in favor of incorporating wine into a reduced calorie diet!

Photo courtesy chrisinplymouth via Flickr/CC

Tannins On An Empty Stomach

Tannins are one of the fundamental components of wine, and red wines in particular. They add structure to the wine giving wine that mouth puckering, drying quality. That puckering quality is the astringent action of the tannins on the lining of your mouth. It literally draws the skin tightly together.

Now imagine what happens in your stomach when you enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. Those same tannins work their magic on the lining of the stomach, drawing it a little tighter and perhaps (simply my personal experience), starting you on your way to fullness well before you’ve eaten your first bite.

Photo courtesy niseag03 vis Flickr/CC

Slowing Down Your Eating, Your Mind’s Fullness Doesn’t Lag Your Belly’s

We all know the saying that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Typically, it's a post script to an excessive meal, one in which we eat well past fullness because our bellies' perception of fullness always seems to lag behind that of our mischievous minds.

The key to helping those two levels of perception sync up is to slow down your eating. There are many ways to do that, from chewing thoroughly to having several small courses during a meal instead of one big one, but adding a glass of wine to your meal might help as well.

I’m not suggesting you add wine for wine’s sake, as something simply to wash down your meal. Instead, add a glass of wine and take the time to learn about the wine throughout the meal. Taste it, consider it and learn how it works with your meal, and you might just add enough time to let your belly’s mind tell your brain to stop eating before you’re stuffed.

Photo courtesy Jonas Design via Flickr/CC

A Small Indulgence Satisfies the Soul

Think about it, a fantastic morsel of chocolate is much more satisfying than a brick of mediocre chocolate. A few thin slices of the best cured ham blow a pound of bologna out of the water when it comes to feeding your soul. We eat primarily to survive, though considering we are talking about going on a diet, it seems obvious we’ve gone past that point.

Another reason we eat is to satisfy our emotions. We don’t want to survive on oatmeal, we want to live on lox! Adding a glass of delicious, thought provoking wine to one’s diet is a way to add more than calories to a meal. It can make a meal special and add something deeper than mere sustenance to our diets, while making us feel good about what we’re eating. And no, that isn’t just the alcohol talking.

Photo courtesy Fast Forward Event Productions via Flickr/CC

Carefully Considered

Pairing wine may make you think more carefully about what you drink, meaning you might also think more carefully about how to eat!

Think about it, when you’re just eating and drinking a simple beverage, you don’t think too much about how the pairing might work. When you put wine into the equation, the dynamic tends to change. Whether you spend significant time thinking about the pairing or just a few more moments, that’s more attention you’re paying to your meal, which yields a better understanding of just what is going to go into your belly.

This is beneficial on two fronts. The first creates a result of hopefully using better, healthier ingredients while you cook. The second takes more effort on your part. It requires you to think more closely about what you put in your body, and not only the quality but the quantity of any given item you might be consuming as well.

Photo courtesy Lance Johnson via Flickr/CC

Studies Show...

Here’s the bottom line, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that,

“Compared with nondrinkers, initially normal-weight women who consumed a light to moderate amount of alcohol gained less weight and had a lower risk of becoming overweight and/or obese during 12.9 years of follow-up.”

Of course, there are many factors that might have influenced this conclusion. Interestingly, this seems to apply only to women and not to men, though apparently it has more to do with how men and women account for alcohol in their diet. It seems that women will tend to replace food calories with alcohol calories more than men, who simply add a few brewskies to their daily consumption. 

So imbibe with moderation, and ask yourself if it works for you. Can you lose weight while enjoying wine regularly?

Photo courtesy captainmcdan via Flickr/CC

Want to Learn More?

Find out how to enjoy premium wine at decent prices in Don't Drink That; Drink This!

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: tabednar
    Hand of Snooth
    94930 2,467

    Follow up: Wine and Breast Cancer Risk

    Two articles of interest on this subject:

    1. The first was published this past December:
    "Red Versus White Wine as a Nutritional Aromatase Inhibitor in Premenopausal Women"

    Conclusion: Red wine is associated with significantly higher free T and lower SHBG levels, as well as a significant higher LH level vs. white wine in healthy premenopausal women. These data suggest that red wine is a nutritional AI and may explain the observation that red wine does not appear to increase breast cancer risk.

    2. The second article published just this month:

    "Moderate red wine drinking may help cut women's breast cancer risk, study shows"

    The study, published online in the Journal of Women's Health, challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors long have determined that alcohol increases the body's estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.

    But the Cedars-Sinai study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month.

    I just thought this was of interest. Great article Greg! Happy New Years!

    Jan 06, 2012 at 10:46 AM

  • Snooth User: Kirsy
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    880543 1,786

    Love this article! I completely agree with all the arguments! Adding wine to my meal makes me more conscious of what I am eating, and usually means I tend to choose foods that are more delicious and of a higher quality.

    @TaBednar Do you have links to these articles? I would love to read them! Thanks!

    Jan 06, 2012 at 11:28 AM

  • Now here's a New Year's resolution I can keep!

    Jan 06, 2012 at 2:21 PM

  • Snooth User: tabednar
    Hand of Snooth
    94930 2,467

    PDF for the 1st Article:

    Link for the Second (No PDF - Came out today):

    Jan 06, 2012 at 4:19 PM

  • Snooth User: achrysafis
    1013087 0

    I agree that wine is part of a healthy diet. It has been part of the mediterranean diet for 3000 years now. Check

    Jan 06, 2012 at 5:54 PM

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    1097553 8

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