White wine does not improve appetite or weight in patients with advanced cancer, a study published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

Because research has suggested that wine increases appetite, researchers sought to determine if this effect could be observed in patients with advanced cancer who are suffering from appetite and weight loss.

For the study, researchers enrolled 141 patients with advanced cancer who reported appetite loss. Participants were randomly assigned to have a glass of white wine with no more than 15% alcohol content twice daily for 3 to 4 weeks, or a nutritional supplement, such as Boost or Ensure.

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Patients in the wine group were also encouraged to take a nutritional supplement, while patients in the nutritional supplement arm were told to completely avoid consuming alcohol. Further, participants completed a questionnaire evaluating patient-reported outcomes.

Results showed that of the 118 evaluable patients, 48% of those in the wine arm reported an improvement in appetite at some point during the treatment period compared with 37% in the nutritional supplement arm (P = .35).

In addition, researchers observed no statistically significant differences in other appetite-related questions and questionnaire items between the 2 treatment arms. There was also no difference in median survival.

The study demonstrated that approximately 9% of patients in both arms achieved weight stability and both interventions were well tolerated.


1. Jatoi A, Qin R, Satele D, et al. “Enjoy glass of wine before eating:” a randomized trial to test the orexigenic effects of this advice in advanced cancer patients [published online ahead of print April 2, 2016]. Supp Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-016-3190-6.