— By Ron Marks, Resident Wino
Well, we made it to February. Did your New Years’ Resolutions make it this far? Made with such hope for the future, so many of them will have been abandoned by now. Why? Often because the resolutions don’t fit with our other desires and priorities, so when conflict arises, we go with the path of least resistance, the pre-January status quo.
For example, what if your resolution was to lose weight, but you also wanted to enjoy wine in the new year? In that case, any time you enjoyed a glass of wine you might feel you were going off your diet. After all, how could something so sinfully delicious be OK on a diet? And feeling like you’ve broken down can in one regard can lead you to abandon your diet all the way. After all, why shouldn’t I have a second dessert or grab a fast food lunch since I went off my diet last night with that delightful Dolcetto?
Actually, there is no reason why you can’t have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. First, it helps to know what wine does to your diet, how many calories it is likely to have. Then, it helps to think of it in the overall context of your diet and lifestyle.
Calories. How many are in a glass of wine? The main thing the answer depends on is the alcohol content of the wine and its sweetness. The higher the alcohol, and/or the more sweet it is, the higher the calories. For example, a light Riesling with around 10% alcohol could be as low as 80-90 calories. However, a glass of Port, a fortified wine with a much higher level of alcohol, could have around 150-180 calories. This is roughly the same amount as a can of beer. For the sake of estimating, assume that most wines will have around 100-150 calories. That’s not a lot, and even a glass a day shouldn’t throw anyone off a responsible diet.
Which brings us to think about the big picture. What role does wine play in your diet, and could there be benefits? There are several popular diet books (The French Don’t Diet Plan and French Women Don’t Get Fat, just to name two) that actually make the case based on trends in France that rather than worrying about the calories in wine, we should intentionally and without guilt allow it to be a regular part of our diet and lifestyle. The argument runs like this: Enjoying wine is something you should do at a leisurely pace, and if you do this with meals it will also help you eat at a leisurely pace. And doing this allows you to not only feel when you’ve truly had enough to eat, but make you feel truly satisfied as well, thus taking away the temptation to cheat later or between meals. Rather than worrying about the calories in wine, we should let it cause us to enjoy life more.
There is, in fact, anecdotal evidence to support this. France is actually catching up to us in weight while they are simultaneously starting to drink less wine as a country. Coincidence?
I say, let’s err on the side of pleasure, and our health will take care of itself.
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