Is Your Wine Drinking Making You Gain Weight?

Written by Varsha Patnaik , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach

Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine? Whether it is a nice full-bodied and sophisticated white wine or delicious and easy-going Rosè, wine is loved by all. It is perhaps one of the oldest forms of beverages known to mankind, whose roots can be traced back to the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Civilizations. It is from these early days, wine has been associated with health benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes (1). However, over a period of time, as technology has evolved and has made life a whole lot simpler and in a way made us lazy, you need to ask yourselves, does wine still carry the same health benefits as it did in ancient times? Or is it contributing to your weight gain?

Does Drinking Wine Lead To Weight Gain?

To answer this question, you need to understand that any food you consume contains calories. Based on the number of calories you consume and burn, will reflect your weight gain or loss. Eating too many calories and not burning them by exercising or leading a sedentary lifestyle will lead you to be overweight, potentially contributing to health issues such as stroke, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and so on (2). On the other hand, maintaining a calorie-deficit diet may help in keeping your weight in check as there is no conclusive evidence to prove that a calorie-deficit diet will aid in weight loss (3).

Dry wines tend to have a lesser amount of calories as they have lesser sugar content in comparison to other sweet wines, and sparkling wines have the least amount of calories. On average a wine glass can hold about 140-150ml of wine and per serving of this quantity contains about 120-130 calories (4). Since wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from grapes, it naturally contains calories, thereby you end up consuming calories in liquid form.

In moderation, consuming wine does not lead to weight gain (1). However, the word moderation cannot be stressed enough in this context, as moderation is extremely subjective to each individual, based on their age, body composition, and environmental conditions. Having a glass of wine every day may not lead to weight gain, but when you begin to increase the number of servings and their frequency you are also increasing your calorie intake. Prolonged consumption of excessive amounts of calories without burning them will lead to weight gain (2).

Now you may be wondering if all the wine drinking is going to make your gut pop or give you wine belly? Is wine belly even a thing? And how different is it from a beer belly?

Wine Belly vs Beer Belly

There isn’t much of a difference between a beer belly and a wine belly. Interestingly, neither beer nor wine directly correlates to the expansion in your waistline and protrusion of your gut. Yes, beer and wine both contain calories and as previously stated consuming excess calories does lead to weight gain. Ergo, consuming excessive amounts of beer or wine lead to overall weight gain in your body and is not specifically restricted to your belly region (5).

Apart from the wine or the beer that you drink, you also tend to pair a lot of high-calorie foods to accompany your glass of wine or a pint of beer. Food such as pizza, burger, pasta, and fried food such as nachos and chips contain a lot of fat and carbs that add to your calorie intake.

These fast foods are high in taste, low in nutritional value, and have a low filling ability that makes you crave them. The carbohydrate content in these foods is of low quality due to their highly processed nature and tends to lead to weight gain (6).

So, what if you are consuming alcohol or wine in moderation or occasionally and you’re watching your weight by keeping a check on your calorie intake. Despite all this, you have a bigger belly. Is this because of the alcohol or is it because of some of your hormones?

Alcohol Belly Vs Hormone Belly

As previously stated that wine, beer, or alcohol directly result in gaining weight around your belly, rather you tend to gain overall body weight. But does consuming alcoholic beverages lead to changes in your hormones and does this change, in turn, lead to weight gain?

There is enough and more evidence to prove that alcohol consumption is injurious to your health. It can permeate through every single one of your internal organs and cause damages to your tissues that could lead to your organs dysfunctioning. It also attacks your endocrine system, one of the most important systems in your body that is responsible for communicating between the various organs, glands, and the central nervous system. The endocrine system is also responsible for regulating the pituitary gland that controls the release of hormones in your body. Prolonged and excessive consumption/abuse of alcohol and alcoholic beverages leads to the disruption of these systems and may result in various thyroid disorders that interfere with your hormonal production (7).

If you do want to put this to the test, to see if it’s the alcohol or your hormones that are making you gain weight, stop drinking wine or any alcoholic beverage for about a month. Pair this hiatus from drinking with a well-rounded and balanced diet. This doesn’t mean that you go on a crash diet of just vegetables and soup. Eat the foods that you would normally eat and make small changes like adding a portion of green leafy vegetables, and cutting out sugary foods. This may help you understand whether the weight you are gaining is attributed to the wine and alcohol or if you have hormonal issues. Even if you are gaining weight because of hormonal issues, the simple thing you can do is avoid alcohol as it is inherently bad for you (7).

Having understood that wine in moderate quantities is fine and you can enjoy the occasional glass or two, but, what about that bloated feeling after?

Does Wine Make You Bloated?

Yes, wine does make you bloated. Given that wine is an alcoholic beverage which when consumed in large quantities, tends to overwhelm your gastrointestinal tract and causes inflammation that results in a bloated feeling (8). Some of you may feel bloated after a single glass of wine, while others may consume more than a glass and down a bottle and not feel bloated, it tends to vary from person to person.

Now that you know the pros and cons of drinking wine, and have understood what causes your beer belly or wine belly, you are better informed about wine and its effects on your health. If you still want to have wine as part of your life and are wanting to maintain that balance between a healthy lifestyle and a bit of fun, here are a few ways to do that.

Ways to Drink Wine And Stay Healthy

When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, as a general practice you should avoid alcohol of all forms. However, wine is a bit different from your regular alcohol as it contains a compound called resveratrol that is found in the grapes that are used in winemaking. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is known to be anti-inflammatory in nature and is also believed to have the property to keep cardiovascular diseases at bay (10). Nevertheless, it is advisable to consume wine in moderation while maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and following these tips to stay healthy while drinking wine.

  • Eat First, Drink Later

There are two reasons why you should avoid drinking wine before your meals. The first reason is that wine on an empty stomach makes you tipsy really quickly when compared to drinking wine once you’ve had something to eat. The second reason is that wine or alcohol for that matter tends to stimulate your appetite receptors and you tend to overeat. Drinking wine after your meals is ideal, as you don’t feel tipsy very soon and it is easier for your body to absorb the calories present in the wine along with calories that are present in your meal (9).

  • Keep A Check On Your Calorie Count Per Glass

A glass of wine or per serving is about 145-150ml, which on average contains 120-130 calories. On average, a woman needs 1,600-2,400 calories and a man needs 2,000-3,000 calories per day. However, this will vary depending on the person’s height, weight, physical activity, and overall lifestyle. It is recommended that daily calorie intake for men in the US is 2,500 calories and for women, it is 2000 calories per day (11). Keeping this overall calorie requirement in mind, you need to factor in the number of calories you want to consume in the form of wine.

  • Avoid Drinking Wine Late At Night

Just as how you avoid eating your meals late at night, avoid drinking wine late at night as your body tends to break down wine instead of burning fat. Instead, maintain a gap of two to three hours between your meal and bedtime, this is applicable to your wine drinking as well. Studies have shown that consuming a late meal and sleeping immediately increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (12).

  • Choose Dry Red Wine

Dry red wine in comparison to other wines has more antioxidants that have a positive influence on your body when consumed in moderation (10). It is also important that you keep in mind the level of alcohol present in your wine bottle. When choosing your wine try and look for a bottle that has less than 13.5% ABV.

  • Buy Expensive Wine

When you buy an expensive bottle of single malt whiskey or any expensive alcohol for that matter, you aren’t going to finish it all off in one night. You are likely to drink it less often as you want to preserve it for a special occasion. The same logic applies to buying an expensive bottle of wine where you save that for a special occasion and savor it with people who are special and close to you. Besides, if you keep spending money on expensive wine, you are likely to have financial issues and that is something you wouldn’t want, right?

Now you’re wondering if you follow these tips and tricks with wine and maintain a healthy lifestyle, can you do the same with other alcohol?

How To Drink Alcohol Without Gaining Weight?

All through this article, you have read that alcohol is bad for your health, is loaded with calories, and has a negative impact on your gastrointestinal system making you feel bloated (8). Despite knowing all of this information, if you are still wondering if you can include alcohol in your lifestyle or its presence is inevitable, here are a few things that you need to know.

  • Calorie Count Varies For Each Alcohol

The options are wide when it comes to alcohol; beer, gin, vodka, tequila, rum, and the list goes on. The calorie count per serving for each of these alcoholic beverages differs. For instance, a pint of beer (335 ml) has about 153 calories, whereas a pint of light beer has 103 calories. Rum has anywhere between 97-120 calories per serving of 45 ml. The drink with the least amount of calories is vodka with 97 calories (4). It is important to note that these calorific values apply only if you are drinking them on the rocks or with water, the moment you add coke, soda, tonic water, or any mixer, the calorie rises significantly.

  • Avoid Oily, Fried, Processed, And Fatty Food

You know that the alcoholic beverage of choice has a good amount of calories and adding mixers in the form of processed juices and sodas will increase that calorie count even more. So, be mindful of the food you consume along with your alcohol. Foods like pizzas, french fries, and onion rings are loaded with calories and saturated fats. Instead, you could try swapping these foods with a cucumber salad or carrots or nuts, which are healthier options.

  • Stay Hydrated

Water is your best friend when you are out drinking. Drink a glass of water before your first drink, keep drinking water in-between your round of drinks, and drink water after your round of drinks. It is essential to stay hydrated when you drink as water helps avoid dehydration that leads to hangovers. Also drinking a lot of water makes you feel full and you may end up drinking lesser alcohol, thereby avoiding those extra calories.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and drinking wine while doing so may be a bit challenging. What to do with the weight that you’ve gained because of wine and how do you lose that weight ?

How To Lose Belly Fat Gained Due To Alcohol?

All the alcohol drinking and wine that you’ve been drinking has slowly begun to catch up with you and your belly seems to be popping out. How do you get rid of this? Go on a crash diet? Do a zillion crunches? Live only on bread and water? No! None of these will help get rid of that belly fat. It takes consistent and conscious lifestyle changes to get back into shape.

Here are a few simple and doable lifestyle changes that you can make to get back into shape.

  • Reducing Your Calorie Intake

This is the most important thing to do, cutting down on the number of calories that you consume. It does not mean that you starve yourself to death. It simply means you reduce the amount of high-calorie and processed foods from your diet. Avoiding sugary drinks, and fried foods is one simple way of going about it.

  • Cutting Down On Portions

You can enjoy your pizza or ice cream and still lose weight. All you have to do is reduce the amount of pizza or ice cream or any of your favorite snacks. For instance, if you eat a whole large pizza by yourself in one sitting, eat a small personal-sized pizza instead. Rather than gorging on a tub of your favorite ice cream, limit yourself to a single scoop.

  • Eating Healthy Food

Ensure that you include green leafy vegetables and fruits as a part of your diet. Eat foods such as oats, barley, beans, and whole grains as they are rich in fiber and fiber is good for your gut.

  • Walk Every Day Or Add A Small Workout.

Making changes to your diet is great, it makes you feel good and helps keep you healthy. But, if you really want to accelerate your weight loss, you need to burn those calories, and what better way to do that than some good old-fashioned exercise.

A simple 30-minute walk or climbing a flight of stairs for a couple of minutes will help you burn more calories. If you have the time or can make time in your busy schedule, try and do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that combines elements of cardio and strength training.

If you have a notion that by doing a zillion crunches you will lose your belly fat, you are sorely mistaken. There is no such thing as a spot reduction. The weight that you’ve gained is over time and only by putting in the time and effort, you will lose that weight.

In conclusion, moderate consumption of wine is good for your health and does not lead to weight gain, provided you stay within the moderated limits. Between red and white wine, dry red wine is a better and healthier option as it has lesser sugar content. You can gain a beer belly or wine belly by the excessive consumption and abuse of these alcoholic beverages. The weight gained by excessive consumption can be lost by eating healthy whole foods and regular exercise.


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  1. Wine And Health: A Review Of Its Benefits To Human Health
  2. Calories
  3. Investigating The Effects Of Negative Calorie Diet Compared With Low-Calorie Diet On Weight Loss And Lipid Profile In Sedentary Overweight / Obese Middle-Aged And Older Men
  4. Calorie Count – Alcoholic Beverages
  5. Beer Consumption And The ‘beer Belly’: Scientific Basis Or Common Belief?
  6. Consumption Of Fat, Protein, And Carbohydrate Among Adolescents With Overweight / Obesity
  7. Pathophysiology Of The Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Endocrine System
  8. Alcohol And Gut-Derived Inflammation
  9. Effects Of Alcohol On Food And Energy Intake In Human Subjects: Evidence For Passive And Active Over-Consumption Of Energy.
  10. Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection
  11. How many calories should I eat a day?
  12. The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting
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