- Wine is an integral part of many people’s balanced lifestyles.
- But what if you could make your wine work better with a healthy diet?
- New keto-friendly, sugar-free wine options are going to blow your mind.
We live in a fast-paced society that is always seeking the latest diet trends and tips. Keto, paleo, low-sugar– fad diets and trends surround us. However, adapting a lifestyle with less sugar in it is hardly a new concept. The medical world has warned us about the effects of sugar on our bodies for years. And yet, even companies that label their foods as “healthy alternatives” are loading their products with unnecessary sugars and chemicals. While it’s not always easy to identify the sugars readily in any one item, a great way to boost your health is by incorporating low-sugar wine into your self care routine in place of your less healthy favorites.
For many people, alcohol has always been an aspect of their social lives and even their balanced diet. The antioxidants in red wine show signs of preventing coronary artery disease, and boosting overall heart health. And that’s not all. Recent research suggests people who drink red wine regularly have better cholesterol and gut health. Though research is largely undecided on whether consumption of any alcohol is actually healthy, a glass of wine is still frequently in demand. Low-sugar wines are a nice option for anyone looking to preserve their ritual of a glass of wine with dinner or on a night out, without sacrificing their desire to make healthy lifestyle changes.
What’s wrong with sugar?
So, what’s the problem with a little sugar? Naturally occurring sugars – like those in the fruits you consume – are manageable with a healthy diet. However, added sugars provide no nutritional benefit and can be incredibly harmful to the body. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day for most women and no more than 150 calories per day for most men.
- In excess, sugar can cause the liver to malfunction.
When consumed in high volumes, sugar can actually overwhelm and effectively paralyze the liver. Because the liver is unable to keep up with the metabolization of the sugar, fat begins to accumulate at a higher rate. This often contributes directly to liver disease. In some cases, this is a precursor to diabetes and heart disease.
- Sugar lends itself to obesity.
When sugar is not metabolized properly, fat builds up. Excess consumption confuses your body’s appetite control with empty calories. This can cause you to gain weight and experience discomfort in different parts of your body.
- Sugar lends itself to tooth decay.
If you do not brush, floss, or rinse your teeth directly after sugar consumption – you are risking gum disease and tooth decay. Sugar, saliva, and bacteria fuse together to create plaque, which dissolves enamel. Sugar is also inflammatory, and can cause irritation to the gums. The even harsher part of sugar’s impact on oral health is that sugar causes tooth decay, and the resulting gum disease can be responsible for heightened blood sugar levels.
How much sugar is in my wine?
Wines with less than 2g of residual sugar per 5 oz serving are considered to be low or no-sugar wines. Residual sugar is the sugar left unfermented in a finished wine, and is not often included in the nutritional information on wine bottles. If your bottle does not make nutritional information readily available on the label, a quick online search should help you uncover the truth about your favorite wine. All wines are required to have an informational sheet that lists the ABV, acidity, grape types, aging style, residual sugar, and more!
Along with the fermentation process, the climate in which the grapes are grown will also impact the sugar content of a wine. Grapes grown in cooler climates don’t get as ripe as those from warmer climates, and fewer sugars develop. Wines with higher levels of sugar are usually made from overripe grapes, or have not been allowed to ferment for as long. These include Shiraz, Pinotage, Zinfandel, Grenache, Port, Moscato, and dessert wines.
What are some healthier wine options?
New companies have cropped up over the last few years to better help customers find wines that meet both their nutritional and flavor preferences. Dry Farm Wine Club and Secco Wine Club are two companies that help their customers find lower carbohydrate, dry wines from around the world.
Scout & Cellar is committed to low-sugar, clean crafted wine. FitVine and the Wonderful Wine Co are two other brands that are seeking to meet the needs of health-conscious wine connoisseurs with an array of options from different flavor profiles that are low in sugar and carbohydrates.
What are the wine rules when following a healthy diet?
Even with wine options marketed as “healthier” and sommeliers teaching you a thing or two, alcohol should be enjoyed with caution. If you’re actively working toward health or fitness goals, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Alcohol will slow the liver’s processing times.
Once alcohol is in your liver, it will abandon processing other nutrients to get rid of your glass of wine first. Consequently, this decreases ketone production. So, while a glass or two of wine isn’t entirely harmful, it will pause the breakdown of fatty acids and slow your overall progress.
- Your body chemistry could affect your consumption abilities.
Women tend to have lower levels of body water than men, so blood alcohol content rises at a more rapid pace. Men also have a high level of ADH in their stomach, while females have almost none. ADH is a hormone made by the brain that regulates the amount of water in your blood. This combination results in higher blood alcohol contents in women vs men after drinking the same amount. Factor in genetics, and the effects vary even more dramatically. Exercise caution when indulging.
- You may experience dehydration and hangovers differently on a healthy diet.
Drinking on the keto diet – or most any restrictive diet – often leads to intense hangovers. This is because a low-carb diet leads to lower glycogen stores. Glycogen normally slows down the absorption of alcohol in your system, but without it, tolerance can drop significantly and make one drink feel like five!
You don’t have to abandon your love for wine just because you’re trying to have an active and healthy lifestyle. The two can co-exist, thanks to low-sugar options. That being said, these wine options may taste different than traditional, higher-sugar wines, so be ready for a bit of a taste difference. If you’re already on a path with less sugar in your diet, you may adjust quite well to the more subtle sweetness and notes in each blend.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by this whole new world of wine. But with some basic tools and the ability to look into nutritional facts for your products, you’ll be ready to choose a wine that both satisfies those cravings and leaves you feeling amazing.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.