We are in the post holiday season, and some people are not happy with their weight gain, so as a result they are hopefully paying attention to more of what they eat. Some people, however, are merely going by what they "hear" is bad for them and not necessarily taking the opportunity to look up what is actually in what they are drinking or eating. The other day I saw a friend make a comment about all the "sugar" in wine, and as usual I knew I had to make a commentary.
*As an aside, not only am I skeptical of everything, but I really love a glass of wine, so you can be assurred that the research was done.
One of the comments I have heard besides wine having "a bunch of sugar" is that "wine has a ton of carbs," which is basically two different ways of saying the say thing. Unfortunately, neither of those statements mean anything unless they are put in context. What, exactly, is a "ton" of carbs? And does wine actually have a ton of carbs? To answer, you first have to figure out what your daily limit is (which I have talked about in item #7 in this post); so let's say that you are trying to keep it roughly about 50 grams per day because you are still trying to lose that little bit of extra weight/fat you have hanging around (so about 15ish grams per meal). Second, you need to actually look up the carbohydrate content of wine, which is actually readily available on the internet (like here). And then you have to pay attention to the serving size, so if you get a 4 ounce glass of dry red wine you will get----about 2.5 grams of carb (some less, some more like 3 grams)
Now, I personally cannot see how 2.5 grams equals a "ton" of carbs, particularly since most people who are eating carb controlled diets (particularly when they are eating out) will likely choose a steak (no carbs) and a salad without croutons (maybe 5ish carbs), so you know have about 7 or so carbs. And even if you got a more standardized glass of 5 ounces, you are still only getting about 8-9 carbs for that meal. So, once again, hardly a ton. If you are consuming sweeter wines you will be getting about 5 or more grams of carb, so I suppose I could start to see why people start to use the undefinable term "ton of carbs."
Of course, if you go out drinking and have 2, 3, 4 glasses of wine the carbohydrate grams and the calories will eventually add up. And since alcohol can stimulate the appetite, you might wind up giving in to having a "taste" or more of someone's french fries, and then take in more carb. Or you lose track of what you are eating, period. At that point, you have not thrown off your diet because of the wine itself, it was the AMOUNT that you consumed.
Now, if you are someone who is going through the less than 25 grams of carbohydrate per day phase because of poorly controlled blood glucose levels in Type 2 diabetes, etc you very likely will find it hard to work in one glass of wine, especially if you are trying to eat some vegetables during the day. Of course there are other reasons that you are typically are not suppossed to consume alcohol during that phase. If your blood glucose levels are high, you are already at risk for dehydration and probably do not want to complicate matters further by consuming alcohol. Also, alcohol inhibits glucagon, a hormone that works in tandem with insulin to regulate your blood glucose levels, and anything that messes with the body's regulation of these hormones could result in more blood glucose swings. (That was an extremely simple explanation of a complicated body process, read more here). And I also think there is the often undervalued psychological effect too. If you are making radical changes in your diet, and overconsumption of wine or any other alcohol has historically been one of your downfalls, staying away from something your body doesn't really need anyway for two weeks can give you 1) proof that you can survive without it, 2) a chance to see how you feel without alcohol in your system, and 3) the feeling of starting off your new plan with a "fresh start."
Now, since my specialty is diabetes, I am going to point out some situations where a person with diabetes or pre-diabetes should not consume alcohol:
1) You are "cleaning up" your diet as above.
2) You all ready have trouble with your kidney function.
3) You have fatty liver disease or any other known liver problems, such as Hepatitis C.
4) You already have known nerve damage that is causing you pain. For some people they actually have more difficult to control pain when they consume alcohol.
5) You have a co-morbidity such as congestive heart failure, where alcohol can put even more pressure on your heart.
6) You are taking a medication that alcohol interferes with.
7) Your triglycerides are over 500--your risk of a nasty condition called pancreatitis is already way too high, and you don't want to push it.
7) You didn't drink to begin with. (I still remember my poor little patient, who hated red wine, who was "ordered" to drink a glass of red wine by his cardiologist. He dutifully choked it down nightly, only to see his HDL go up by a whole whopping one point and see his triglycerides increase). Although there is some evidence showing that moderate consumption of red wine might have health benefits, there isn't really enough for non-drinkers to start.
Take home message--save the wine for after you have "cleaned up" your diet, but use the resources available to you to find out the carb/calorie content of what you are drinking and watch the amounts.