Does drinking wine (or going on a wine trip with your family or friends) make you fat?

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No, but alcohol tricks your brain into making undesirable decisions. It’s now time to arm yourself with know-how to drink smarter. By the way, a long term study with over 19,000 women showed drinkers generally is less obese than non-drinkers as they age.

We consume wine differently than food
Despite the fact that wine has little to no carbs and zero fat, it still has calories! The interesting aspect of calories in wine is that we digest them differently than food. Our body stops what its doing and focuses on alcohol calories first before addressing other calories (fat, carbs, sugar, etc.). If you drink too much or drink before eating, you put your body to work going through a 3- step process of metabolizing the alcohol before it can use the food.

Why does drinking make you hungry?
Wine doesn’t make you fat, but eating pizza when you’re drunk does. Why do we end up eating a whole cheese pizza after a night of drinking? The response of alcohol on the brain causes a skew in how we regulate calorie intake for two reasons:

– BLOOD SUGAR DROP: Drinking dry wine causes your blood sugar to decline. Because your body focuses on metabolizing the alcohol calories first before food calories, this is. The result is that your brain sees this information a little blindly and responds with ‘uh oh, we need more blood sugar. Go eat something!’

– No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad— and there’s a reason. A study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat, which is why bacon and scrambled eggs the next morning are so extremely satisfying. Dr. Edward Miller, Wine & Health.

– TRICKS YOUR ‘PRIMITIVE’ BRAIN: Alcohol causes a temporary effect on the part of your brain that causes you to feel hungry, aroused and has to pee simultaneously. These activities are controlled in your hypothalamus (high-po-thall-lam-us) which is an early part of the human brain located above the brain stem. It manages everything from sex drive and body temperature to appetite.

A 2004 study published in the Alcohol Journal led by Princeton University scientists suggest that a brain chemical called galanin [secreted by the hypothalamus] could be behind both fatty food cravings and a thirst for alcohol. “There seems to be a cycle of positive feedback,” Princeton researcher Bartley Hoebel said in a 2004 statement. “Consumption of alcohol produces galanin, and galanin promotes the consumption of alcohol.” Dr. Edward Miller, Wine & Health.

How to stay healthy and drink wine.

Eat protein before you drink.
Have some quality protein before you drink. Long sustaining energy calories will help curb your craving while you drink.

Stick to moderate drinking.
A bottle of wine is not a single serving. It’s important to understand your limits. If you’re 140 pounds or under, you should stick to just one drink and only two if you’re over that weight.

Avoid the drunk diet.
If you do get drunk, it seems practical to assume that food (e.g. cheesy bread, pizza and apple pie) could help absorb the alcohol in your system. The truth is, there’s nothing to stop or reduce the long painstaking procedure your liver will need to go through to carefully convert every milligram of poisonous acetaldehyde into not-so-bad-for-you acetic acid. Be a friend to your liver and stay up on your fluids by drinking lots of water. Our favorite hangover food is a Pho (pronounced ‘Fuh’) noodle soup; the Vietnamese know what’s up.

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