Wine and Weight Loss

Red wine

When I first met the Lehman family, Tiffany told me that she–like many women–LOVES red wine. No problem, I told her, adding that she could still drink wine, but would just have to limit it to a few 4-ounce glasses a week. What I didn’t realize is that a 4-ounce glass is not enough for someone who LOVES red wine. Tiffany and Andy both like having 3 (or maybe 4) large glasses of wine at dinner on the weekends. And sometimes Tiffany will have a couple big glasses with girlfriends during the week.

It’s not surprising that Tiffany and Andy drink more than the recommended amount. A lot of us do. Even though research says to limit alcohol to one drink a day for women and two for men, our environment encourages us to drink more than that. Wine glasses are getting bigger and bigger. (And what’s with those 40-ounce cans of beer?!) But for the Lehmans, cutting back had to become a priority–for their health, but also for their weight loss.

Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, almost as much as fat! With big serving sizes at home and in restaurants, you can easily rack up 500+ calories of alcohol at a meal. Plus alcohol suppresses your level of control, so you’re more likely to eat that bowl of chips and salsa or order a dessert.

So what’s a wine lover to do?

  • Find out how much you’re really drinking. Use a measuring cup to see how much wine you’re pouring into your glass. Tiffany used Wine-Trax glasses, which have a 4-ounce mark right on the glass.
  • When you’re at a restaurant, stick with just one glass of wine. Restaurants typically use large glasses, which can hold 8-10 ounces.
  • If you know you’re going to have more than a 4-ounce glass of wine, reduce your calories elsewhere to adjust for those extra wine calories. For instance, ordering two glasses of wine means no dessert or no appetizer.

How many glasses of wine will you have in a day? Post a comment and confess.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

One Response to “Wine and Weight Loss”

  1. I do drink wine, but wouldn’t have it daily. If I’m at dinner, I might have a small glass, or if I go to visit friends, I’ll have a glass or two. I didn’t know that it was so bad for the diet, and from now on, I’ll have a 100 calorie cooler.