Should you cut out alcohol to drop those couple extra pounds?

Alcohol is not only caloric, but it also impedes your body’s fat-burning process. The liver is responsible for metabolizing both fat and alcohol, and, when forced to choose, will metabolize alcohol before it does fat.

When in Rome, however, every waiter will look at you in shock if you pass up wine – and for good reason. Italy has some of the best wine you will ever taste, and at a good price, too. You would be doing your whole trip to Rome wrong if you were to avoid it completely.

The goods news is that cutting out your beers and vodka sodas but continuing to drink wine may actually produce a net positive gain (and not in weight).

Why? Wine has a multitude of benefits that, in moderation, will not cause your waist to expand, so long as you also avoid hard liquor and beer.

Let me repeat myself for all my American readers: you may only reap the benefits of wine if you drink it in MODERATION. Yes, I understand that this is a new concept for many of you. According to the American Heart Association, “moderation” means one or two four-ounce glasses of wine per day. This blog post is not meant to justify the endless flow of wine you drink to get hammered when going out on the weekends…

Wine is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, and, generally, the darker the wine, the more of this good stuff. Wines from milder regions, such as Napa Valley or Bordeaux, also tend to have higher concentrations of antioxidants than do wines from hot regions. So, when given the choice, a deep red wine from a dry region is your healthiest option.

Increasing your consumption of wine will in turn promote longevity by slowing your brain decline and lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer.

According to a study in 2006 conducted by Columbia University, moderate drinkers’ brain function declined at a slower rate than did the brain function of nondrinkers. This benefit is due to the fact that polyphenols combat the early onset of dementia-like symptoms.

In the publication Nature, experts found that red wine contains high levels of procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wine also contains polyphenols that reduce bad cholesterol and further boost heart health.

Arguably the greatest health benefit from drinking wine is that the surplus of antioxidants means greater protection against cancer. Humans are exposed to free radicals on a daily basis, whether as a byproduct of normal bodily processes or through contact with pollutants. Free radicals are destructive to our bodies because they cause molecules within our cells to become unstable; consequently, this instability triggers a never-ending process in which the now-unstable cells attack stable cells to try to gain stability, and the number of unstable cells gradually begins to grow. Antioxidants are crucial to stopping this cellular chain reaction by neutralizing the free radicals.

Thus, my friends, the net gain of drinking wine in MODERATION. In fact, giving up alcohol as a whole might even lead to binge drinking because you are preventing yourself from enjoying something you love. The same goes for food.

Pair a glass of wine (and just a glass of wine) with a healthy diet and a regular workout schedule and you are good to go!

Also: If you’re really into wine, I highly recommend attending a wine-tasting class at Riscioli.

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