THE BLOG

Weight Loss in Juiceless January?

01/05/2012 08:58 EST | Updated 03/06/2012 05:12 EST
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It's January. 

The most wonderful time of the year has once again come and gone and, besides maybe a new camera, all you've really got to show for it is a wicked hangover and an extra 10 pounds.

And those last two items are making it easier for you to turn in your corkscrew for the month and, like legions of others, begin the sober observance of Juiceless January.

But while your liver may thank you for the break, will your waistline?

Over the last few years a spate of studies looking at how moderate wine consumption can help women keep the pounds off have ripped through the news faster than contestants from America's Next Top Model on a treadmill before a weigh in.

In March 2010, when Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston released the results of a study of almost 20,000 women, media outlets went crazy. Headlines around the world splashed the happy news that moderate wine consumption may help women stay thin.

The study compared teetotalers to moderate wine drinking women and found that over 13 years, the imbibers only gained 3.5 pounds, while the abstainers saw their weight increase by eight pounds.

Paul Walker, owner of Paul's Boot Camp in Woodbridge, Ontario doesn't buy it.

"I have never in my life had a client who was successful at losing weight while drinking alcohol," he said, estimating that since becoming a personal trainer in 1996, he has counselled, trained and advised 500 clients a year between his two gyms. 

But a Spanish study released this past summer saw headlines run wild again, as researchers from the University of Navarra could not find conclusive evidence that light-to-moderate wine consumption is a death knell for weight loss.

Both Bostonian and Spanish researchers noted that with 7.1 calories per gram of alcohol, excessive drinking (four or more drinks per day) can lead to obesity, but moderate drinking of only a glass or two a day may actually help keep your weight down.

"Wine is a simple sugar.  It's a simple carbohydrate," Walker argues.  "If you consume two glasses of wine a day, that's almost 20 per cent of your daily caloric intake."

Researchers admit the reasons women who imbibe may keep the pounds off is still unclear, but it's possible female drinkers have a tendency to eat less, especially carbs, and exercise more after drinking (as anyone who's witnessed a dance floor after midnight can likely attest).

Still, Walker insists when it comes to weight loss, there's no magic bullet -- especially one that needs to be uncorked.

"It's not rocket science.  You find a routine. You eat three to six (healthy) meals a day.  You train the muscles.  You train the heart." 

Walker also notes the risks associated with alcohol, which can include liver damage and cancer. He says those with the fittest bods aren't relying on a glass of vino to get it. 

"Your trainers, your athletes, your models, they're not drinking everyday.  They're following a healthy eating plan.  I can't stress enough: emulate the people who look good."

But that doesn't mean cutting out the fun with the calories.  Even Walker admits to kicking back with a glass of wine once in a while.

"Wine to me is a reward.  It helps you enjoy life more, But it's not something you do every day."