Losing Weight Without Giving Up Wine

By Rai Cornell

wine diet

Whether it's a low-fat diet, a low-/no-carb diet, or just good olde fashioned balanced diet and more exercise, many of us will be kicking off the New Year with healthy resolutions. When it comes to weight loss, many experts suggest abstaining from alcohol altogether. But the idea of giving up wine has us wanting to throw out the scale and say, “No way, Jose!”

 

You ready for this…? You don’t have to give up wine to lose weight. Feel free to find your favorite “mind blown” gif right now.

 

We’ll say it again…You don’t have to give up wine to lose weight!

 

Here’s what you need to know about the food pyramid’s shunned step-child, alcohol, and how you can fit your favorite wines into your New Year’s weight loss resolution.

 

Wine’s Bad Reputation for Weight Loss

Let’s start by understanding why the weight loss experts say you should avoid drinking alcohol when you’re trying to lose weight. The truth is: it’s not the drink itself that’s going to sabotage your weight loss goals. Drinking a glass or two of wine isn’t necessarily going to prevent you from dropping those excess pounds.

 

Rather, it’s what you do while you’re under the influence of alcohol that has the biggest impact on weight loss. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Whether you let some NSFW phrases fly while drinking or you’re more likely to chat up strangers at your favorite wine bar, alcohol makes us naturally less reserved, controlled, and rational.

 

When you mix the inhibition-lowering effects of alcohol with a tempting plate of nachos or macaroons, that’s when the problem is born. Research has shown that as inhibition is lowered while drinking alcohol, you’re more likely to consume more calories from food. There are many reasons for this. Some people prefer to eat while drinking so they can attempt (although we’re not sure how successful this actually is) to put off getting drunk. The thought is that food in the stomach absorbs a bit of the alcoholic liquid and allows the body to process the alcohol slower, which means the drinker can enjoy more of his or her favorite cocktail.

 

For other people, cravings and bad judgment run rampant while their inhibitions are lowered. While you know the pizza and ice cream aren’t good for your waistline while sober, all cares are thrown to the wind after you’ve knocked back a few drinks. It’s these bad food+drink habits that have a significant impact on your weight. However, there is hope…

 

That same study that showed that alcohol lowers inhibitions and can lead to consuming excess calories from food also found that individuals who were conscious of their calorie intake on a regular basis weren’t negatively impacted by alcohol’s effects. In other words, people who are mindful of what they eat all the time can maintain their control over their eating while drinking.

 

This means that if you practice mindful eating, you develop a better sense of the caloric and nutritional values of food, and you develop a mindset of enjoying food as a nutritional tool rather than a means to feel good, you can enjoy more control over both your food and alcohol intake even after a glass or two of vino.

 

How Alcohol Acts in Your Body

Think of alcohol as a barrel of monkeys. In your everyday life, you enjoy drinking your morning coffee, eating a healthy salad, and finishing the day with a well-balanced dinner. Your body knows exactly what to do with these things. The carbs, protein, and fat are filed away like animals into a corral.

 

“Ok, we have some muscle damage, well let’s send this steak protein over there for processing. Oh, we need some quick energy to run to catch the train, better process this sugar on the double!”

 

Your body works like a well-oiled machine. Until the monkeys arrive. As you drink your alcohol, it’s like someone shook, rolled, and then broke open the barrel of monkeys. Now you have mischievous little critters running all around wreaking havoc and your body says, “Woah! Who let this craziness in here? We better get this cleaned up before we do anything else!”

 

Because alcohol is technically a toxin, your body stops everything it’s doing to collect and process the alcohol. Unlike carbs, protein, and fat, your body refuses to store alcohol, which means it has to burn it right away.

 

While your body is dealing with the crazed (although entertaining) monkeys, the other nutrients in your body are pushed to the side and stored for later.

 

In this way, alcohol is like a big HALT sign on your metabolism. Because of this, it’s best to either avoid eating heavy meals while drinking or avoid drinking more than a serving or two of alcohol while eating a meal. If you are snacking, while drinking, go for low-calorie options so your body doesn’t have a lot of energy to store while it’s rounding up those monkeys.

 

The Best Wines for Weight Loss

Not all wine is created equal. We’re huge proponents of that idea here at Vinebox. But it doesn’t just come down to quality, taste, and experience. There’s actually a big difference in calorie and carbohydrate counts among wine varieties.

 

If your goal is to lose weight, the best wine to enjoy will be a lower calorie, lower carb wine that will have a minimal impact on your daily nutrition. The best wine for weight loss is dry wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot or a dry sparkling white wine. Sweet wines have significantly higher calorie and carb counts, which can leave you struggling to reach your healthy goals.

 

Here’s a quick reference guide for wine calorie and carbohydrate counts.


Type of Wine

Calories

Carbohydrates

Champagne

96

1.5

Sparkling White Wine

96

1.5

Chardonnay

118

3.7

Riesling

118

5.5

Gewurztraminer

119

3.8

Cabernet Sauvignon

120

3.8

Pinot Noir

121

3.4

Merlot

122

3.7

Syrah

122

3.8

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio

122

3.0

Zinfandel

129

4.2

Late Harvest White

172

20.6

Dry Sherry

215

16.6

Sweet Sherry

227

19.4

Port

232

17.7 

 

Each bottle is different, so these are approximate values that should be used as a guide. Estimates are made based on a standard 5 ounce serving.

 

Set Yourself Up for Success

Now that you know what the concern over alcohol is all about, how wine interacts with your body, and the best wine options for weight loss, it’s time to create a healthy habit that will set you up for reaching your weightloss goals in 2018.

 

Respect the Calories

You’ll see this sentence all over health blogs and scientific research: “Excess drinking and weight gain are linked.”

 

And it’s true! But the keyword here is “excess.”

 

There are two types of excess you need to avoid if you’re going to have a successful weight loss journey without giving up alcohol: calories from food and calories from alcohol.

 

Calories from alcohol do count and they do have an impact on your body. But if you enjoy having a glass or two of merlot every night, then just know that you’ll need to take those 122 - 244 calories into consideration when you’re trying to meet your weightloss goals.

 

Also remember that anything you eat while drinking alcohol may have a bigger impact on your weight than when you’re not drinking. Instead of having a glass of wine with dinner, aim to have an earlier dinner and enjoy your wine an hour or two after you eat. This will give your body time to start digesting that meal before the monkeys run in to push the pause button.

 

Pre-Portion

You’ve heard this before: it’s all about indulging in moderation. Right? But that doesn’t really help, does it? It’s easy to talk about moderation. It’s hard to actually implement it in the moment - especially if you’re feeling a bit tipsy in that moment.

 

To help yourself enjoy an actual serving of wine (5 ounces) rather than the typical free-pour glass of wine (around 7.5 ounces), buy smaller wine glasses, measure out your serving, or use pre-portioned small bottles of wine.

 

VINEBOX’s single-serving glasses are already perfectly portioned for you so you never have to worry about overindulging. Plus you get to taste some tantalizing new varieties from all over Europe.

 

Watch the Clock

Another great way to enjoy your wine while losing weight is to spread your drinks out over time. Make a promise to yourself (or a trusted friend or loved one who’s supporting your goals) that you’ll only have one glass of wine every hour.

 

This gives your body plenty of time to process the alcohol and prevents you from entering that phase of lowered inhibitions. You maintain your control, you still enjoy your wine, and you can go on rocking your resolutions!

 

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions this year? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

 

  • Very informational. says...

    Very easy to understand how your body digests wine. Thanks!

    On October 14, 2019

  • Clarileni Munoz says...

    This was super helpful thank you! Spreading the word ….

    On October 14, 2019

  • Kat says...

    Thank you. It was very interesting. I always check my calories (sugar), but I like my wine too… so it was very helpful.

    On July 27, 2019

  • L Henry says...

    My husband & I tend to like the sweeter white wines but are also trying to watch calories & weight. Moscato is our favorite right now. We also love peach flavored wine. How does the peach or berry flavors affect weight? Id like to order some of your individual portioned wine that’s best for us. I appreciate all your help. Thank You

    On July 27, 2019

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