A study recently released by the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that initially normal-weight women who consumed a light to moderate amount of alcohol gained less weight than their abstaining counterparts.
Researchers charted the drinking habits of 19,220 American women "aged 38.9 years or older who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes mellitus and had a baseline body mass index within the normal range of 18.5 to less than 25" over the course of 13 years. Approximately 60 percent of the women reported drinking lightly or moderately and the remaining 40 didn't drink at all.
The results showed that 41.3% of the women became overweight over the 13 years and 3.8% became obese. The non-drinkers gained an average of 9 pounds each, while the regular drinkers only gained 3 pounds.
The New York Times mentions the significance of red wine:
The link between consumption of red wine and less weight gain was particularly pronounced in the Archives study. Some studies have suggested that resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, appears to inhibit the development of fat cells and to have other antiobesity properties.
But hold up--the study's results don't mean you should go out binge drinking. However, it does indicate that the extra calories causing women to gain weight aren't coming from their wine glasses.