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Can I Drink on a Diet?

Is It OK to Drink Wine on a Low-Sugar Diet?

If you're on a diet or just trying to cut back on sugar, find out from Shape if it's OK to drink wine.

Q: If I’m avoiding sugar, can I still drink wine?

A: Yes, even if you're cutting back on carbs and sugars, there's still a place for an evening glass of Pinot Noir in your diet. (Tweet this good news!) I have yet to find a client (outside of extreme competition dieting) who needed to eliminate wine completely in order to reach any sort of health goal. 

Not that you need another reason to drink vino, but it is actually healthy for you. Some population-based studies show a relationship between wine intake and improvements in insulin sensitivity. This makes your body more efficient at using carbs, which leads to better health and easier fat loss. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank two glasses of wine a day for eight weeks experienced a seven percent increase in insulin sensitivity. Wine has also long been considered one of the key health-promoting components of the Mediterranean diet.

RELATED: Your Guide to Low-Calorie Cocktails

There are two things to keep in mind when imbibing on a low-sugar diet.

1. Dry wines contain minimal sugars. Choosing red or white doesn’t matter as much as opting for dry over sweet. Dry wines generally have less than one gram (g) of carbohydrates (sugars) per ounce, while the carb content of sweet wines can be upwards of 1.5 to two grams per ounce. These sugars can add up quickly: technically one serving of wine is five ounces, but six to nine ounces is generally more realistic, especially when you’re pouring a glass at home to unwind. However, it is impossible (and unnecessary) to avoid sugar completely, so just adjust your wine intake to fit your personal sugar guidelines.

Dry Reds
Pinot Noir: 0.68 gram of carbs per ounce

Cabernet Franc: 0.71 gram
Merlot: 0.74 gram

Cabernet Sauvignon: 0.75 gram
Shiraz/Syrah: 0.76 gram

Zinfandel: 0.84 gram

Dry Whites

Pinot Blanc: 0.57 gram of carbs per ounce

Sauvignon Blanc: 0.6 gram

Pinot Grigio: 0.6 gram

RELATED: The 20 Best Wines Under $20

2. Spritzers help slash sugar. If you are really watching your sugar intake, switch to a wine spritzer to cut sugars in half. Combine your favorite dry wine with seltzer water in a 1:1 ratio (more seltzer than this dilutes the wine too much). Depending on the wine, a splash of fresh citrus like lemon or lime goes a long way to enhance the flavor. An eight-ounce wine spritzer has even fewer carbs than a Miller Lite, one of the most carb-conscious beers.

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