Friday, December 6, 2013

The Weight Is Over

More great news from Tony Edwards's book The Good News About Booze. Regular moderate drinking could help you stay slimmer.

Crazy I know! But Edwards has collected the results of numerous studies - conducted over decades - that prove time and again, moderate alcohol consumption leads to slimmer waistlines. 

One of the most surprising studies was conducted by Harvard. It began in the 1990s, tracking 20,000 middle-aged women over thirteen years. When the process began, all the women weighed about the same (US sizes 6-10, UK, 8-12). Thirteen years later, almost half the subjects - or 9,000 of them - had "significant" weight gain. Others were even clinically obese. 

The results were pretty surprising. Women who consumed two medium glasses of wine a day were 70% less likely to be obese. 

And those who didn't drink at all were the ones most likely to have gained weight, particularly when it came to the subjects who'd become obese.  

Edwards claims regular alcohol consumption is such an effective way to prevent weight gain that if the study had been conducted by a pharmaceutical company and marketed as a diet plan, they'd be 'laughing their way to the bank.' 

But the Harvard investigation doesn't stand alone. Here are just a few others: 

  • A six-year study of 43,500 people by the University of Denmark. Key findings: teetotallers and infrequent drinkers ended up with the biggest waistlines, daily drinkers had the smallest.

  • An eight-year study of 49,300 women by University College Medical School, London. Key findings: women who drank below 30 grams a day (around two medium glasses of wine) were up to 24 per cent less likely to put on weight than teetotallers.

  • A ten-year study of 7,230 people by the U.S. National Center for Disease Control. Key findings: drinkers gained less weight than non-drinkers. Alcohol intake did not increase the risk of obesity.

It's interesting to note these results usually involved wine or spirits. There's a difference when it comes to beer. A pioneering French scientist, Michel Montignac, found that different foods were more fattening than others because they produced more glucose when digested - and excess glucose gets stored as fat. His findings? 

Beer actually produced more glucose than pure glucose itself! Which is why it can lead to less-than-flat tummies. Whereas wine and spirits scored lowest on the glucose production chart - an actual "0." Meaning these beverages are far less likely to make you fat. 

It seems counter-intuitive, because alcohol is relatively high in calories, but it all comes down to how the body metabolizes energy from different sources. For more information about how drinking does (and doesn't) affect your weight - here's the full article from The Daily Mail

Next time I want to talk about Wildcard rules. And how to tell if yours are working to keep you in control - or not!