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Alcohol consumption, good for the waistline?

Eileen Crane, president and winemaker of Domaine Carneros, sampling wine.
Eileen Crane, president and winemaker of Domaine Carneros, sampling wine.AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Dr. Lu Wang and researchers of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston now say light to moderate drinking may keep women from gaining excess weight over time.  This study followed healthy, normal weight women, according to the body mass index (BMI), over a 12.9 year period.  Average weight gain was about 8 pounds, for those who didn't drink, compared with about 3.5 pounds, for moderate drinkers.

But hold your glasses women of Denver!  The study did not say that the alcohol helped these women lose weight.  It still holds true that alcohol reduces the rate at which you burn fat.  

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley say just two mixed drinks (or two glasses of wine or two bottles of beer) puts the brakes on fat burning by 73 percent. That's because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate.  Your body burns whatever you feed it. Consequently, when acetate levels rise, your body simply burns more acetate, and less fat.

Dr. Wang's study attributes the findings to healthy lifestyles, smaller portions and eating less carbs, which would compensate for the added calories of the alcohol. 

It's important to note that the average serving size for wine is about 5 ounces.  Many restaurants serve up much more than that.  Not to mention, some of us have a very generous pour in the comforts of our own home. 

So if your goal is to shrink the waistline, don't get excited and toast the town over this new study unless you've achieved a new weight loss goal.  Despite their findings, Dr. Lu Wang says "This is not a recommendation for drinking alcohol as a weight control measure."

Therefore, if you're going to drink, do so in moderation and view the helpful video below.  Above all, if you do not drink, do not start, just because of this study. 

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