Can Red Wine Help You Lose Weight?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

It seems we encounter a new food or nutritional supplement on a daily basis that claims to promote fat loss. While some prove to offer a slight benefit in the battle to control excess pounds, many prove to be a disappointment. This leaves the health conscious person with few alternatives other than diet and exercise to battle those excess pounds.

Recently, several studies have shown the potential for red wine to boost the metabolism. Can red wine burn fat?

The ingredient in red wine that appears to have the potential to help with weight control is an antioxidant known as resveratrol. This free radical scavenger is found in the skin of red grapes used to make red wine.

The benefits of resveratrol for weight loss were brought into focus after several animal studies showed that mice given a high calorie diet gained less weight when supplemented with resveratrol. To further confirm the potential benefits of resveratrol, researchers in France found that resveratrol supplements actually increased the number of energy producing cell components know as mitochondria in the bodies of mice studied.  The increased number of mitochondria could have a significant impact on the body’s ability to produce energy and burn fat.

Even more compelling is the fact that the benefits of resveratrol may extend far beyond the ability to promote fat loss. Ongoing studies are investigating the potential for resveratrol and red wine to help prolong life and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases such as cancer.


Should you jump on board the red wine band wagon if you’re trying to lose those excess pounds? Are the claims that red wine can burn fat likely to hold up to scrutiny? First, it must be remembered the studies showing the fat burning effects of resveratrol were done in animals. It’s too early to extrapolate the results to humans. Larger, well designed studies would need to be performed on humans before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

Another problem with the use of red wine to burn fat is you’d have to drink over one hundred glasses of wine per day get the equivalent of the amount of wine used in the studies. This means that supplementation using a resveratrol extract would be necessary to get the fat burning benefits if the studies are confirmed. It should also be remembered that red wine is not without calories. A typical glass of red wine has about 130 calories. Even as little as a single glass per day might be enough to compensate for the extra calories burned.

Drinking small amounts of red wine may have some additional health benefits according to studies that suggest it can lower the risk of heart disease, but this may be negated by a slight increase in breast cancer risk seen in women who consume more than a glass of alcohol per day.

The best approach may be to wait until further studies confirm the benefits of resveratrol and then buy a high quality supplement to get the potential benefits that red wine seems to offer. Until then, there’s always diet and exercise.

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