Wine: How Much Is Good for You?

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A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away. Could this be true? WebMD talks to experts to learn how we can get the health benefits of wine or alcohol while keeping our weight in check.

Do Like the French?

The French diet is often used as an example of how wine can improve heart health. The French have a fairly high-fat diet but their cholesterol levels, increase ‘good’ nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than alcohol when calories are limited. The health benefits of moderate alcohol do not outweigh the risks of being overweight or obese, says Nicklas.

An individual on an 1,800-calorie level eating plan only has 195 discretionary calories or the equivalent of a 9-ounce glass of wine or a small dessert. If you want dessert along with your daily allotment of alcohol, you need to increase physical activity to balance your calories to achieve a healthy weight, according to Nicklas.

Double-Edged Sword

A little may be good but too much alcohol can lead to serious problems.

No one should start drinking if they don’t already drink, advise Lichtenstein and Agatston. It is well known that alcohol can lead to numerous health problems for many individuals, such as pregnant women and women at high risk for (alcohol raises the risk of breast cancer). Individuals with family histories of alcohol abuse should also not drink, says Lichtenstein.

To gain the benefits of good health, do your part to enjoy your one to two drinks per day at mealtime and follow the advice of the dietary guidelines for food, fitness, and weight management.