Women, Wine, Weight, News and Commerce








Three hundred and fifty seven links showed up  this morning when I did a News search on Google for "Women-Alcohol-Weight". By the time the day is over, this post will likely be one of a couple thousand that all are commenting on a new study that shows women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (red wine in particular) gain less weight in middle age.

Forgive me for generalizing about the sexes, but in my experience when you start to suggest to women that a specific thing will help keep the weight off, they are likely to respond—and a hell of a lot quicker than men respond. Add to this to a specific action that is as easy to do and enjoyable as drinking wine and women will REALLY respond.

That's why this new study on alcohol and weight consumption is going to have a measurable effect on wine sales over the long term.

What's interesting and VERY IMPORTANT to note about these studies is that the "How" and "Why" is no where to be found. WHY do women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol gain less weight in middle age than those that don't consume alcohol or consume more than moderate amounts? HOW does this conversion of wine drinking to keeping the pounds off actually work?

The answers to these questions, while important, are not important to the commercial impact of the announcement of this study on correlations. 

As you might imagine, as a public relations professional, I'm pretty interested in how news stimulates action. Does there have to be an explanation of HOW drinking red wine will reduce the amount of weight gain in women in order for women to take action upon hearing this? No. There does not. In this case I'm pretty sure that all that needs to be done is note the correlation between the two in order to see women alter their alcohol consumption habits.

But what if drinking red wine has NO direct connection between keeping weight off in women? What if women who happen to drink wine moderately in middle age also tend, as a group, to do a number of other things—like exercise, eating healthy, have less stress—that more directly affect weight gain? Would this information make the reaction to this bit of news more muted. You bet it would.

So in this case, where the wine industry is concerned, less information is better I suspect.

14 Responses

  1. Sarah Chino - March 9, 2010

    looks like i should start my “diet” 😉

  2. Gina - March 9, 2010

    I saw these headlines yesterday and noticed the lack of how and why too. Any man or woman who has cut back on the booze has to admit that it keeps the weight off at any age. Any man or woman who thinks moderate consumption of alcohol alone will prevent weight gain is just looking for an excuse to enjoy a drink on a daily basis.

  3. VA Wine Diva - March 9, 2010

    I love that you actually address the correlation doesn’t equal causation issue in your post. As you make clear, this has been all over the internet and few address that key piece of information. The correlation is likely due to some unmeasured third variable (sorry to get all research geek on you, but that’s who I am) that no one is even thinking about because eating moderately, exercising, reducing stress, etc. all sound a lot harder to do than drinking wine!

  4. David Honig - March 9, 2010

    The story is boring, but the headline is terrific, that’s why the news media is running with it. The answers, as you note, are more likely to do with WHO drinks red wine than with the substance in the glass. Let’s see what the New England Journal of Medicin has to say about this, shall we? “One of the most striking facts about obesity is the powerful inverse relation between obesity and socioeconomic status in the developed world, especially among women.”* Yup. I think we just answered the question. Don’t you?

  5. John Kelly - March 9, 2010

    David: granted that persons in more desperate socioeconomic situations may drink less wine, and less expensive wine, but your observation in this context also begs the question of the causal link between socioeconomic status and obesity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the headline “Get A Job And Lose Weight!” The NEJM article actually goes out of its way to push back against the idea that correlation equals causation – suggesting complexity, and the interplay of outside factors.

  6. Mark's Wine Clubs - March 10, 2010

    On that point I can definitely agree. I think there was quite a bit of talk a few years ago about the French diet and why women there who both drank plenty of wine and smoked regularly were able to largely avoid cancer and obesity.
    Personally, I’m betting that women who are able to afford one glass of wine per evening and stick to only that one glass are willing and able to make positive lifestyle choices during the rest of their day as well.

  7. Richard - March 10, 2010

    Don’t mean to rain on the parade, but the blip I read on the weight loss indicated that socio-economic factors were not, not the cause. It indicated that the scientists believed it was something about the genetic makeup of women versus men, thus, stating that drinking wine did not, not help men lose weight.
    Having said that, agree that these studies are rather ludicrous. I love wine; make wine; drink wine; but am dubious about the much ballyhooed claims of it’s health benefits. Yes, wine, may, in fact, be good for one in small doses – a glass or two a day, but overall, statistics indicate that people who drink wine and know wine are more educated, have higher incomes, and thus more disposable income; these same people work out more, eat healthier, and have that disposable income to purchase healthier. So, is it the wine or the lifestyle? Indications are that the more educated, the better choices (though this appears somewhat elitist to me).
    The interesting thing is that if you look at beer drinkers as a whole – the chug a lug crew who kicks back a six pack of Bud, Miller, Pabst, or Old Bo (do they even make that any longer) has a less healthy lifestyle, less education, and less disposable income – however, they don’t say “it’s the beer.” They blame socio economic circumstances.
    Thus, the conclusion is – it’s probably not the wine – though I would love to market mine as a “weight loss” miracle drink. No, wait, the TTB won’t let me do that…

  8. JohnAnniston - June 1, 2010

    Staying healthy and drinking wine are two separate issues. It is still to be proven that drinking a lot of red wine, I call drinking one glass of wine per day a lot, and in my opinion this is not healthy http://themedicalvalley.com/menapause

  9. Scentsy Bricks - July 5, 2010

    I agree with John, you can be incredibly skinny and not healthy. It all goes into how you’re taking care of yourself. Overimbibing can be dangerous if not ‘unhealthy’

  10. Hypnotherapy London - July 23, 2010

    So glad that people agree. My friend is really skiny. She really tries to gain weight but none sympthies with her. She has found it as much of a struggle to remain a healthy weight as people find trying to loss weight. I have told her about your site, I know she will find it very helpfull. Thanks!

  11. jade - August 5, 2010

    It’s a good article,thanks for share,great!
    welcome to my blog

  12. Clenbuterol - October 11, 2010

    How could you weave all this in one text?

  13. Drop a Dress Size - October 14, 2010

    This is crazy….

  14. Weight loss programs - November 22, 2010

    Thank you for the excellent Information, this is something to think about! However, you can be incredibly skinny and not healthy. It all goes into how you’re taking care of yourself.

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