FOOD

Wine With (Or After) Your Meal, Not Before. Here's Why

Drinking beforehand turns you into a food monster.

09/06/2016 5:11 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Dips, anyone?

There are few things on this planet we can agree are good for the soul: the smell of freshly baked bread, a sky full of stars and wine.

But whether we like to admit it or not, too much of the latter is like poison for the body.

We know, is it possible to enjoy anything in this cruel world anymore? The short answer, yes.

Just look at all of the studies that tell us red wine is good for memory, reduction in heart disease risk and even slowing down the ageing process.

Though when it comes to consuming it, there are a few tips and tricks to get clued into, especially if you're trying to watch your weight.

Without food in the stomach, alcohol travels straight to the bloodstream and as blood alcohol concentration rises, the loss of control increases.

First thing's first, never drink on an empty stomach.

"There have been several studies conducted that tell us if you drink a glass or two of wine before dinner on an empty stomach, you are likely to consume up to 25 percent more food during the meal," Robbie Clark, accredited practising dietitian and co-founder of The Health Clinic told The Huffington Post Australia.

But it's not just the extra food (that you may or may not be drunkenly nibbling) that's sabotaging your health kick.

"Without food in the stomach, alcohol travels straight to the bloodstream and as blood alcohol concentration rises, the loss of control increases," Clark said.

Once alcohol hits the brain, it immediately starts to affect the ability to control behavior and bodily functions.

This is because your liver metabolises alcohol first, which in turn changes the structure of your liver cells.

"And as alcohol does not actually need to be digested (unlike other food) it means that it can move into the bloodstream and to the brain very quickly. If you have food in your stomach, it helps to 'counter' the speed in which you get drunk while also reducing the accumulation of fatty acids in your liver," Clark said.

As a study published in the journal of Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research confirmed previous observations, alcoholic beverages whether spirits or wine are absorbed more rapidly during the fasting state.

"The liver will then store your fats because it interrupts your natural metabolism and your bodies normal function," Clark said.

"This is because your liver metabolises alcohol first, which in turn changes the structure of your liver cells. This leads to fatty acids being stored as triglycerides in the liver, making your liver fatty," Clark said.

Clark recommends sipping on wine throughout dinner, or even a little while after you finish your meal.

"That way, you will have food in your stomach and as you won't be hungry you are less likely to drink (or eat) more than necessary," Clark said.

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  • If you are someone who drinks most days, try to have 1-2 alcohol free days to give your body a chance to recover.
  • Drink in moderation, either with food or have food in your stomach before you start drinking alcohol.
  • Try to have some full weeks off from drinking to help your cells recover.
  • Make sure you are drinking organic or good quality wine. You would be surprised some of the ingredients, pesticides and toxins that can go into making wine!
  • Make sure you have a healthy balanced meal the morning after drinking, consisting of high protein and healthy fats for nutrient absorption. Refined carbs and sugars will only make your blood sugars fluctuate, causing more of a hangover effect and leaving you craving bad foods.

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