There are many misconceptions around alcohol, but did you know that a) you can include alcohol in your diet and lose weight and that b) alcohol can in fact be healthy for you? But before you go and skull a bourbon and Coke 😉 keep in mind it’s not any alcohol and it’s a moderate consumption, which equates to a maximum of approximately 1-2 standard drinks daily.
What the research shows us, is that red wine is particularly healthful due to a potent compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant and antioxidants are important compounds that play a number of roles in the body particularly though; fighting against something called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable compounds and are formed during normal bodily processes such as aerobic respiration and can also be introduced into the body via things like smoking and pollution. Free radicals damage things such as our cell membranes and increase the risk for many chronic diseases, including cancer.
However, the benefits of alcohol are not limited to resveratrol. Other research proven benefits include:
✔️lowering blood pressure
✔️beiging of white fat which may assist in weight maintenance (red wine)
✔️increasing HDL (especially red wine)
✔️improving blood glucose control after a meal (wine)
✔️fighting against cancer (red wine)
✔️improve chemotherapy outcomes (red wine)
✔️being less of a stressed out jerk (Naomi)
But as with anything, there is a risk to benefit ratio that needs to be considered. The benefits of alcohol must be considered against the potential negatives.
One of the most important things to consider with alcohol consumption, is the volume being consumed. Research shows the benefits of a moderate consumption (hint… Aussies are generally not moderate consumers) and research is pretty clear on the consequences of consuming too much booze. Too much leads to alcoholism, alcohol dependency, alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, diabetes and central obesity. Interestingly enough, a moderate amount of the right kind of alcohol, is able to protect against most of these problems.
It’s also important to note that if the alcohol you’re drinking is energy laden and full of sugar; the benefits are likely being completely overridden by these factors.
Other problems associated with alcohol consumption also include:
✔️eating less food to be able to consume more alcohol
✔️sleep quality and quantity being affected by alcohol consumption
✔️drinking in secret
✔️hiding how much you’re drinking
✔️spending money you don’t have on alcohol
So whilst there is a clear health benefit to drinking alcohol, there are also many clear health issues when it is consumed in excess. This means, just like any other health intervention, people need to take an individual approach to alcohol consumption and remember that what is ok for one person, might not be ok for another.
But as for me, I will raise my glass and cheers to science, whilst enjoying a glass (or two) or my fave Sangiovese!
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 May;127:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.01.021. Epub 2017 Mar 2.
WSU scientists turn white fat into obesity-fighting beige fat. Retrieved 18th May 2020;