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Is There a Dark Side to Dark Wine?

According to an article in Livestrong.com, resveratrol, the celebrated phytochemical, has a dark side. In a previous post, we broached the groundbreaking but incomplete research into resveratrol, the compound found in the skins of grapes and other foods. It has been the central reason for the excitement surrounding red wine thanks to research that revealed its potential for extreme health benefits when it comes to diabetes and heart disease.

For those who want to lose weight, common sense tells us that eliminating alcohol can improve our diet efforts simply because it saves calories. But if you notice that your quaffs are wreaking more havoc on your diet than you think they should, there may be other reasons besides just mounting calories. Resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen, reports Livestrong.com, meaning it releases the powerful hormone estrogen into the bloodstream, turning on the fat-storing hormones, and sabotaging efforts at weight loss. Maintaining the balance between fat-burning and fat-storing hormones is a crucial factor in losing weight, and having high levels of just one fat-storing hormone, like phytoestrogen, can completely wipe out all of the effects of the fat-burning hormones. Your glass of red will disrupt this delicate balance. Read more about Alcohol and Weight Loss.

Blame it on the Alcohol

Are grapes enduring the same bad rap? Resveratrol may be harshly implicated simply because it’s keeping questionable company with alcohol. Remember that wine itself still has its devotees, even when it comes to health. So let’s put the blame where it belongs. Alcohol, in all its myriad colorful, carbonated and umbrella-festooned forms, can harbor serious drawbacks when it comes to being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight.

If you are looking for reasons to make progress with your diet by cutting back on the Appletinis, there are plenty of reasons to choose from. Livestrong.com cites some good reasons to abstain, both related and unrelated to phytoestrogen, including:

  • It provides empty calories – that is, calories without the benefit of nourishment.
  • It lowers inhibitions when it comes to food choices. (One more helping? Why not!)
  • It lowers blood sugar levels, and makes you feel hungrier.
  • When alcohol and food are consumed together, the body metabolizes the alcohol and stores the food as fat.
  • As a result of the above, nutrition from food is not absorbed causing you to miss out on vitamins and minerals.
  • It makes you sluggish and less able to give your all to your workouts.
  • It sabotages sleep, making you tired and lethargic, which hinders workouts and leads to overeating.

Engage in Smart Consumption

Such a gruesome list of diet killers would have anyone looking for alternatives. Ordering a tonic or seltzer with lemon when you belly up to the bar is a good bet. But if you miss your occasional toddy (and lying down for a long time and then standing up quickly isn’t doing the trick), consider moderation, combined with low calorie alternatives.

Beer: If your love for suds hasn’t yet come to a head, make under-100-calorie beer your goal. This can be achieved with several light beers on the market. Amstel Light makes the cut with 97 calories, and Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol comes in at an astounding 67 calories per 12 ounces.

Wine: While reds get all the attention when it comes to health, Chardonnay and Chablis usually provides the fewest calories. But the biggest hurdle is serving size. Remember, that humongous goblet you’re holding is made to allow wine to breathe, not to be filled. The more breathing room you have in your glass, the more you’ll have in your jeans.

Cocktails: While alcohol can stymie your diet plans, mixers can do their own diet damage, providing a double whammy when it comes to calories. Again, seltzers and tonics are helpful in avoiding fruity, concentrated mixes. Manhattans and Mojitos, for example, can be good choices when seeking drinks moderate in calories. Here are some other low calorie drink recipes.

Count ’em up: New online software and iPhone apps allow us to track data about our food, sleep habits, and alcohol intake. It’s easy to be honest about your habits when all you are doing telling your phone. Seeing the resulting calorie count of a night of indulgence can do wonders toward enacting your own personal 18th amendment in an effort to change your constitution.

INSTEAD OF GRABBING A GLASS…. take a look at other fitness and nutrition content to help you live well at Livestrong.com. This health and wellness goal-setting website provides social networking, calorie tracking and diet tools, nutritional videos, news, and other health-related information, courtesy of biking phenom Lance Armstrong.

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