What is the sugar content in alcoholic beverages?
Does limiting sugar intake mean that the glass of wine you enjoy at dinnertime is now “off the table?”
Hooray for wine!
Not only is it a component of the MIND and Mediterranean diets, dry wine contains only about 1-2 g. of sugar per 5 oz. glass.
Studies have shown that dry wine actually lowers blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes, by increasing insulin sensitivity. (Annals of Internal Medicine, October 20, 2015; Diabetologia, August 2008)
Another benefit: subjects in one study enjoyed better sleep, whether they consumed a glass of red or white wine. (Annals of Internal Medicine, October 20, 2015)
As you’d expect, sweeter wines contain more sugars. Sherry and port can contain up to 20 g. of sugar per glass, and a sweet California Riesling may clock in at 14 g.
Beer contains no added sugar, but it does contain simple carbohydrates. A lager may vary from 10 g.-15 g. per pint (Diabetes.co.UK, Alcohol and Blood Sugar). Lighter beers have less carbs than Stouts, Porters and Guinness.
Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey have 0 grams of carbs or sugar per ounce.
The added sugar comes when mixing these spirits with juices and syrups. If you stick to seltzer and a squeeze of lime or lemon, having one (women) or two (men) drinks won’t add sugar to your diet, and can be part of a low-carbohydrate diet plan. (“Which Types of Hard Alcohol Have No Sugars or Carbs?” Livestrong, April 19, 2018 )
Lowering sugar and simple carbohydrates in the typical American diet is now recognized as an important goal to achieving good health.
Wine or other alcoholic beverages can be included in a healthy diet, as long as the portions are limited (1 drink per day for women, 2 for men).
So, should you start drinking alcohol if that isn’t currently a part of your daily habit?
According to the USDA:
While moderate alcohol consumption may have some effects that reduce the risk of heart disease, there are other ways of achieving reduction in risk. There are many factors that reduce the risk of heart disease, including a healthy diet, moderate
exercise, avoidance of smoking, and maintenance of a healthy weight. These behavior changes carry less potential for negative consequences. As one person put it, ‘‘people don’t get addicted to fruits and vegetables and don’t get into accidents after eating
too many apples.’’ Thus, the correct interpretation of the Dietary Guideline on alcohol is, if you don’t drink, this guideline is not a reason to start; however, if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation, with meals, and when consumption does not put you or others at risk.
* For more information on the risks and benefits of moderate
alcohol consumption, contact NIAAA Alcohol Alert on Moderate
Based on remarks by Eileen Kennedy, D.Sc., R.D., Executive
Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
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This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise plan.