Moderate drinking may help your health.
Dieters are usually urged to lay off alcoholic drinks to cut calories—and to avoid alcohol’s presumed effects on boosting
appetite and loosening inhibitions (dietary and otherwise). But despite that reputation, “epidemiologic studies have always
noted that people who consume alcohol moderately are leaner than nondrinkers or heavy drinkers,” says R. Curtis Ellison,
M.D., an expert on alcohol and health at Boston University.
“Why? Nobody knows.” One reason may be how it is broken down in the body; while alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, “it
doesn’t go through the usual pathways that carbohydrates, fats and proteins do,” Ellison explains, so some of those calories
appear to be wasted rather than used. And, when enjoyed with a meal, alcohol can slow down eating so that satiety kicks in
sooner. What about the proverbial “beer belly”? Whether it’s beer, wine or whiskey, you’re more likely to get the belly bulge
with heavy consumption or binge drinking than with daily moderate sipping, says Ellison. Nonetheless, one drink still
contributes between 100 and 135 calories to the day’s total count.