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Wine Health with Bex Bishop, Winemaker at BX of Napa

Wine or your waistline? 3 rules to follow

They say you can't get blitzed on margaritas and then dive into a bowl of ice cream? I have friends that would beg to differ but the point remains that drinking alcohol can have many positive and negatives -- for your weight, depending on how it's "administered". Find some tips here. Some highlights include:

  • Drinking presses pause on your metabolism
  • Alcohol decreases fat burn in the belly (a-ha! that explains it!)
  • Always eat with or before drinking
  • Wine and drinks without sugar fair better with less calories and less cravings
  • Beware the morning after cravings and fill yourself with water


(CNN) -- Let's face it, sometimes there's nothing better at the end of a long day than a glass of wine.But sipping much more than that can wreak havoc with your shape, and not just by adding hundreds of calories to your diet. Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat, explains integrative medicine specialist Dr. Pamela M. Peeke, author of the book "The Hunger Fix. 

"The reason is that your body can't store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with food calories. So when you drink, your metabolic system must stop what it's doing (like, say, burning off calories from your last meal) to get rid of the booze.

"Drinking presses 'pause' on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says, 'Break me down first!'" Peeke explains. The result is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat.What's worse: "Research has uncovered that alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly," Peeke adds. "That's why you never hear about 'beer hips' -- you hear about a 'beer belly.'"

Long-term studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and International Journal of Obesity found that middle-aged and older women who drank moderately (about one drink a day) gained less weight over time than those who never imbibed at all; they were also less likely to become obese.

What else beyond basic exercise and calorie-counting can keep happy hour from turning into hefty hour? Health magazine dug into the research and grilled the experts on how you can have your sips and jeans that still zip.

Rule #1: Always eat when you drink
While the Harvard research suggests it's wise to factor in those cocktail calories, it's actually more important to eat right than to eat less, the experts stress. Skimping on food in order to "make room" for drinks will only backfire and send you straight to the bottom of the candied nut bowl.
Rule #2: Know that some drinks make you hungrier
When it comes to waist-friendly cocktails, the simpler the drink, the better. Not only do the sweet-and-fancy ones tend to have more calories, but the additional sugar can make you even hungrier: Your blood sugar skyrockets higher than it does on beer, wine, or a shot of something, making the plummet (and the resulting cravings) worse.
Rule #3: Stick to a drink or two, tops
One drink a day is the widely accepted definition of moderate drinking for women, but there's a misconception among some bar-hoppers that you can go without alcohol all week and save your seven drinks for the weekend."That's the worst thing you can possibly do for your weight," Peeke says. (And, of course, for your health.) "It has a much bigger effect than one drink a day."

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