February 28, 2022 — A world-renowned scientist advising not to give up a glass of wine when trying to lose weight, as it may actually help weight loss, certainly caught our attention.
The scientist is Prof. Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós who has a Ph.D in Pharmacy and is the Director of the Institute for Research on Nutrition and Food Safety (INSA-UB) and Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Gastronomy of the School of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, University of Barcelona, Spain. She is also a member of Wine in Moderation.
In a Wine in Moderation seminar in 2021, Lamuela-Raventós referred to two studies, one Spanish and one from Brazil. In the Spanish study, known as PREDIMED, of the Mediterranean diet published in 2013, 7,447 participants revealed that those of them who consumed wine with their food had a decreased heart rate and lower body mass index (BMI) than the non-drinkers, even though their diet was no healthier. The result was similar whether they drank between one and six units a week or more than 14 with the best result being with the moderate imbibers who consumed six to 14 units a week. Other measurements of cardiovascular risk, including cholesterol were lower for this group than for non-drinkers. Interestingly, the wine drinkers consumed more calories but did not gain more weight.
The Brazilian study known as Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) focused on the Timing and Type of Alcohol Consumption and the Metabolic Syndrome – a medical term for diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity combined. Published in 2016, it investigated the influence of drinking alcohol with meals as opposed to outside of meals by 14,375 active or retired civil servants aged 35-74. It showed that:
“… light consumption of alcoholic beverages with meals was inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome … compared to abstention/occasional drinking. On the other hand, greater consumption of alcohol consumed outside of meals was significantly associated with the metabolic syndrome. Drinking predominantly wine, which occurred mostly with meals, was significantly related to a lower syndrome prevalence”.
As in the Spanish study, participants in the Brazilian study who consumed wine moderately with meals, did not gain weight nor increased BMI.
The Answer is “Yes”
Why is wine consumed in moderation with meals so efficacious? Prof. Lamuela-Reventós believes the answer may be polyphenols which are present in wine, especially red wine. Wine also contains minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium and vitamins including niacin, which is used to turn food into energy. Among the polyphenols is resveratrol which, as quoted in Drinks Business:
“….helps the body increase the amount of brown tissue produced in the body, which is a type of ‘good’ fat that turns food into heat, which helps you to burn more calories in food,” said Lamuela-Raventós. “This process, called thermogenesis, promoted by polyphenols, means that the body is not only counteracting the calories consumed in the wine, but also burning more in the food being eaten too.”
Not only that, but the polyphenols present in wine “improve our gut microbiota, which is something that is taking on more importance every year,” she said, in regards to the healthy functioning of the human body.”
She summarized the Spanish study’s findings that more polyphenols in the diet means fewer cardiovascular events and better weight maintenance with or without a healthy Mediterranean diet. Just make it red wine with a meal.