There have been countless articles and news reports published in recent years talking up the health benefits of red wine. One such topic is the discussion of whether red wine and its complex nutritional properties can help you lose weight. With so much contradictory opinion and “scientific evidence” on the subject, we thought it was time for a deep dive into the topic of whether red wine can help you lose weight. We’ve done extensive research into the various claims so that you can make an informed choice on whether red wine is suitable for your diet or health ambitions.
Does red wine help you lose weight?
One commonly written theory that many of us would love to be true is that red wine can help you lose weight. There have been a number of studies addressing this topic which we’ll attempt to summarise for you.
The Resveratrol Theory
Grapes and the red wine that they produce contain a wide range of antioxidants known as polyphenols. One of the polyphenols commonly found in red wine is resveratrol. According to research at Washington State University and Harvard Medical School, resveratrol can convert difficult-to-burn white fat into beige fat, which is much easier to shed. In addition to this, polyphenols are also said to help suppress appetite, which is a big bonus for anyone who eats more calories than they burn.
Unfortunately, there are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, the studies were conducted on mice so the application of the findings to humans may not be totally reliable. Secondly, German research has found that it is not possible to absorb the required amount of resveratrol through drinking red wine alone, and you would need to take a supplement to reach the amount required to experience any benefits.
Finally, as the author of the Washington State University study points out in his research, drinking red wine is not the most efficient way of consuming resveratrol. This is because many of the beneficial polyphenols get filtered out during the wine production process. A more efficient and healthier way of getting resveratrol would be through eating fruits such as blueberries, strawberries or grapes, which are rich in the compound. You can read more about the flaws in this study and subsequent theory on the Nicswell website supplied by the NHS.
No elixir here
As much as we would like to be able to report that red wine helps you lose weight, sadly this is just not true. Red wine is generally very high in calories, with an average supermarket bottle containing 160 calories in a 175ml serving, which is about the same as you would find in a slice of cake. Unfortunately, this will most likely cancel out any slight theoretical benefit you may gain from trying to convert white fat to beige fat. It is also important to remember that there are a number of health risks associated with drinking any alcohol in excess, and the proven risks of drinking too much red wine probably outweigh any possible benefits.
Other (Possible) Benefits of drinking red wine
We may have established that drinking red wine will not help you lose weight, but what about some of the other common health related claims that are reported in the media? Below are some of the ways red wine may (or may not!) be beneficial to your health.
Red wine and heart disease
Red wine has long been thought of as healthy for the heart. The theory is that antioxidants in red wine may increase levels of the "good" cholesterol and protect against cholesterol buildup, whilst also helping to protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. However, evidence that drinking red wine in particular can help you avoid heart disease is weak, and some studies have even found no benefits from resveratrol in preventing heart disease.
The American Heart Association points out that current research is yet to establish cause-and-effect link and several other factors, such as dietary habits, may play a role in studies. Finally, simply eating grapes or drinking grape juice might be a more effective way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Finally, British Heart Foundation-funded research published in 2018 looking at the effect of alcohol consumption on heart and circulatory diseases concluded that the risks outweigh the benefits, and drinking more than the recommended limits will have a negative effect on your health.
Red wine and strokes
Some articles have suggested that red wine can help reduce the likelihood of strokes as drinking small amounts of red wine helps to retain the 'good' HDL cholesterol in the blood. However, the Stroke Association points out that drinking large amounts of alcohol can greatly increase your risk of having a stroke, because alcohol contributes to a number of medical conditions that are risk factors for stroke. You can read more about the link between alcohol and strokes here.
Red wine and gut health
Recent research has found that drinking red wine could improve the diversity of bacteria found in the gut, which is linked to better health. A healthy gut improves immunity, aids digestion and helps us maintain a healthier weight. However, this was only observed when participants drank just one glass of red wine per week, so it is important that red wine is enjoyed in moderation.
Red wine and cancer
The theory here is that because resveratrol has been shown in laboratory studies to act as an antioxidant that can fight cancer, the resveratrol may cancel out any negative effects of light drinking and help prevent cancer. However, researchers have found no association between moderate consumption of red wine and the risk of developing prostate cancer (Vartolomei et al, 2018) or colorectal cancer (Chao et al, 2010). Also, heavy drinking is no doubt a cause of cancer, and toxins in alcohol may contribute to cell damage that leads to cancer.
How DrinkWell red wines can help
So, we may have established that red wine is probably not going to help you lose weight, and is most likely not going to provide you with many other health benefits either. But fear not - DrinkWell has a number of lower calorie red wines available that are much more forgiving on your waistline than most standard red wines. Below are some examples.
This wine is produced by Stellar Organics, which is one of South Africa's largest organic wine producers and is the leading ethical wine brand in the UK. The vineyards are patrolled as organically as possible assisted by Indian Runner ducks, which act as natural pest removers. This Shiraz is spicy and concentrated with savoury notes of white pepper, and best of all contains just 84 calories per 125ml glass (that’s 504 per bottle). You can buy this delightful red wine from DrinkWell for £9.99 per bottle.
This is an incredible and classic Italian Chianti which has only 1.5g/l of residual sugar which is incredibly low for such a full bodied italian wine. It also contains just 83 calories per 125ml glass, whilst offering an impressive 13%ABV. This medium-bodied, aromatic wine is true red in colour. Sour red cherries on the palate are complemented well by leafy aromas and an earthy smokiness.. You can find this wine on the DrinkWell website for just £9.99 per bottle.
Available to purchase from DrinkWell for £12.99 per bottle, this award winning vegan-friendly Spanish red wine has a complex palate, with juicy bramble fruit, savoury characters and a hint of black pepper. After fermentation, the wine spends 3 months in American oak (once-used, which has only ever held organic wine) before bottling. One 125ml glass contains just 95 calories, and goes perfectly with sausage and lentil casseroles.
If you are in the mood to explore, why not check out our Favourites Red Wine case, you might find your new go to drink.
Nutrition details (per 125ml)
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