If you’ve recently quit sugar or are considering taking it off the menu, but are worried about having to ditch your Friday-night wine with dinner – fear not! Here's why you don’t have to give up wine when you ditch sugar.
Wine has a low sugar content.
You may be surprised to hear that wine has near negligible amounts of fructose – which is the visceral-fat building part of sugar – and that’s because it gets fermented into alcohol. The result? A comparatively low-sugar drink that puts cocktails to shame; it’s not just the alcohol that stacks on the kilos, it’s the fructose packed into some of these drinks you’ll find at the bar.
On the low-sugar end of the scale, vodka soda and regular beer take the cake with 0 grams of sugar per serve, while prosecco and pino grigio also make for a good choice, coming in at 1 and 1.5 grams per serve, respectively. On the other end of the scale, we've got the sugar-laden rum and coke, which packs a whopping 27 grams of sugar. Baileys and your classic gin and tonic follow close behind at 18 and 20 grams in a single glass.
Dry wine, on the other hand, only has around 1 gram of sugar per standard glass – that’s around 4% of our daily recommended intake. Red wine has lower fructose levels than white wine, though, so if you’re quitting sugar, go for the burgundy. Champagne, while undergoing a similar fermentation process, maintains more of the fructose from the grapes, so this one might not be your drink of choice when quitting sugar. A dry, red wine comes out on top for a low or no-sugar diet.
Plus, it’s easier to stay on track with your health journey when you can still indulge in some of the little things. Quitting sugar can be hard, and a glass of wine with dinner once or twice a week is a safe way to enjoy those small pleasures.
Just don’t overdo it.
It’s true that fructose is one of the major drivers of disease as – unlike glucose, which is absorbed into the small intestine and used by our bodies for energy – it cannot be broken down by the body and instead requires the liver to metabolise it. If we consume too much fructose, we can overwhelm the liver and as a result, conditions ranging from heart disease to fatty liver disease may develop. Affecting around a quarter of the population, the latter is projected to become the become the leading cause of cirrhosis. Even kids aren’t exempt, with one study finding 12% have the condition.
So, while it’s a good sign that wine is low in fructose, we all know that alcohol isn’t exactly risk-free. It takes the cake for causing the other kind of fatty liver disease, and this is because alcohol is also metabolised by the liver. Research shows that drinking a large amount of alcohol, even if it’s only for a few days, can cause a build up of visceral fat.
Also, it’s no secret that alcohol has a habit of dulling our inhibitions, so if you’re struggling with sugar cravings, going hard on the burgundy might shake your resolve.
Just be sure to keep your intake to a minimum, and you can still enjoy some of those antioxidants red wine is known for: polyphenols. These strengthen the lining of your blood vessels and fight inflammation. Of course, if you’re steering clear of booze, strawberries, green tea and broccoli all pack in a good dose of antioxidants – without the alcohol, of course.
Having a little trouble staying in control of your health journey? Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and taking our lives back into our own hands. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and expert guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
If you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it – JOIN NOW!
I Quit Sugar
August 26, 2022
Hi Natalie! Craft beers tend to vary depending on the brand and type, but generally these should be a good, low-sugar option. Alcohol-free beers on the other hand tend to have a sizeable amount of sugar (some have as much as 28 grams of sugar!) This is because in regular beer, the sugars are converted into alcohol during the fermentation process, but unfortunately this doesn’t happen with non-alcoholic beer.