We’ve been hearing more and more lately that sugar is a major contributor to not only to weight gain,  but also to a myriad of health ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.  A very scary fact is that the average American consumes about 1/3 of a pound of sugar a day!  Do we need to cut back?  The answer is a resounding YES!

But with summertime wrapping up and the holidays looming around the corner – social gatherings will inevitably be making their way onto the calendar.  You’ll no doubt come face to face with alcoholic libation temptations!  If you are going to imbibe now and then…what are your best options if you’re attempting to nix consumption of added sugars?  Since Nutrition Labeling is not required on alcoholic beverages, the amount of sugar contained in your favorites is not readily available.  I’ve done a little digging for you and here is the low down on how to make better (or at least educated) decisions….

Are you a wine lover?  If so, the good news is that as wine is fermented, much of the natural grape sugar is converted to alcohol so the sugar content is relatively low. Reds have about 0 – 1 gram of sugar per 5 oz. serving, whereas whites have about 1.5 grams.  Be cautious with champagne, which usually tends to retain a lot of sugar.  And beware of sweeter desert wines which can have up to 8 grams of sugar per serving.

What about suds?  Does the thought of an ice cold brew make your mouth water?  Although beer contains more carbs than other alcoholic bevvies, it also contains less sugar.  And the sugar it does contain is in a form that our systems metabolize very well.  Light beer has ½ gram per 12 oz. serving and regular beer has none!

Hard liquor such as vodka, rum, gin and whiskey rank among the top choices in relation to sugar content.  These contains NO carbs and NO sugar.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are Liqueurs, such as schnapps or cordials – typically made from a distilled spirit that has been flavored with fruitcreamherbsspicesflowers or nuts and bottled with added sugar or other sweeteners (such as high-fructose corn syrup). Liqueurs are typically quite sweet, and contain about 10 grams of sugar per serving!  Yikes.

And a word or two about mixers – watch out!  This is where the best intentions can get completely derailed if you are not careful.  Juice, tonic, soda and prepared mixers all contain plenty of sugar.  Your best choice here is seltzer with some fresh squeezed citrus, such as lemon or lime.

So there you have it.  But keep in mind; choosing to drink alcoholic beverages may pose health risks other than those associated with sugar consumption!  Although fairly low in sugar, all alcohol contains empty calories – defined as those which provide no nutritional value.  The danger of addiction also exists for some as well.  Bottom line – drink responsibly!

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