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Ugly Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Wine After 40

A glass here and there is fine, but here's what can happen if you drink in excess.

A glass of wine is sometimes the perfect way to unwind. And as you relax to a glass of red, you can also simultaneously enjoy its health benefits, such as better heart health and the possibility of a lower risk of certain diseases.

While wine in moderation can boost your health in a number of ways, drinking too much of it can have the opposite effect. To learn more, we asked a few of our dietitians about the potential side effects of too much wine, especially for those over the age of 40.

Read on to find out what they had to say, and for more healthy eating tips, check out 6 Drinking Habits to Speed Up Weight Loss as You Age.

1

Weight gain

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Drinking wine in excess, especially if it's on a consistent basis, may be contributing to some extra weight gain.

"While wine has been shown to have several health benefits such as helping to reduce inflammation and boosting heart health, the key is moderation," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and a member of our medical expert board. "For women, the American Heart Association recommendation is one glass of wine per day. And ladies, one glass isn't just how much you pour into your glass! One serving of wine is 5 ounces, which equates to approximately 110 calories. In excess, these calories can add up and potentially lead to weight gain over time."

2

Possible fatigue

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People often assume that drinking at night will help them sleep better, but this isn't the case.

"A glass of wine may help you to relax after a long day, but drinking in excess can actually make you feel more fatigued the day after," says Goodson. "Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which increases drowsiness and may help you fall asleep faster. However, these sedative effects wear off during the night, leading to frequent waking and decreased sleep quality."

3

Inflammation

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Again, while drinking wine in moderation is shown to be fairly harmless for more people, drinking it in excess can lead to health problems like inflammation.

"The bottom line is that excessive alcohol intake puts a strain on the body, particularly the gut and liver, which can lead to chronic systemic inflammation," says Goodson. "Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of development of several diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and more."

4

An increased risk of disease

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Lastly, dietitians warn that consistent heavy consumption of wine can lead to certain diseases.

"First, it can lead to excess calorie intake which can lead to weight gain, and weight gain—especially after the age of 40—can increase the risk of obesity-related issues such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer," says medical expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, best-selling author of The Family Immunity Cookbook. "Other risk factors of drinking too much wine include an increased risk for certain forms of cancer specifically breast, colon, liver, esophagus, and throat. Drinking over the defined moderate amount of alcohol/wine regularly can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. Many of these chronic diseases start to show up after the age of 40."