Some people think that if you drink you will get fat, end of story. That is not the case. It’s time to talk honestly about alcohol, understand its impact on training, dispel some myths, discuss pros and cons and, hopefully, define that mythical measure called ‘moderation,’ where you obtain maximum pleasure with minimum damage to your waistline.

For this month, some good news first: one or two glasses of red wine, usually with a meal, has been associated with reduced incidences of coronary heart disease. Studies also suggest that red wine inhibits the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, fights the aging process and can stall tumor and breast cancer cells.

The ingredient responsible for these benefits is called resveratrol. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, but before you get too excited and rush to the wine store, it is a little unclear if these findings were obtained through drinking wine or through the independent study of the effects that resveratrol has on the body. Wines made from grapes in cold, humid climates (like Merlot) have higher concentrations of resveratrol than those from hot, dry climates. Pinot Noir has the highest levels of resveratrol, regardless of the climate. In addition, red wine is fairly low in carbs, with about two or three grams per 120ml glass.

These health-yielding properties aren’t the only good news. There are epidemiological studies that show moderate alcohol consumption does not adversely affect your weight.

In 1985, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the diets of 1,944 adults between the ages 18 and 74. They found that an increase in alcohol (ethanol) alone did not result in weight gain that would normally occur if those calories were from carbs, fat or protein.

Now, a bit of perspective: this research looked at the effect of ethanol on an increase in body weight. So, while you may not be at risk of putting on weight through moderate drinking, it will certainly hinder your weight-loss goals in an indirect way. Alcohol is very calorific, at 7Kcal per gram. But then again, calories are not the whole story. For fat loss, it is important to also consider the body’s hormonal reaction to food, the toxic load and the effect of the fat-storing hormone, insulin.

To be continued … join me next month when I continue to explain how alcohol affects your fat loss, fitness and health goals. Find out what six to seven beers/wines can do to you, and learn how to enjoy a drink without causing too much damage to your waistline.

Phil is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (Starfitnesssaigon.com), online or at your home. Contact him though his website Phil-kelly.com or Facebook.com/BodyExpertSystemVietnam.