April 20, 2024   11:30pm

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Reduced calorie wines? Bah, humbug! Tis the season to be jolly – and to worry . . . about how we’re going to deal with those extra pounds that seem to be inevitable. Is going for low-calorie wine the answer?

I was recently asked my opinion about the “reduced-calorie” wines on the market today: Bottom line is, there are no really good wines in the lower-alcohol category. The reason is that the natural fermentation process (converting the sugars in the fruit to alcohol) is a large component of the flavor of the wine.

The process for making low-alcohol wines involves blending in additives to achieve the character of full-alcohol wines. They are basically adding in artificial flavors. That makes it difficult to get a full-flavor profile that approaches regular wines. I view it as a clever marketing scheme to sell more wine to women, who tend to be concerned about weight-gain.

What many women don’t realize is that the calorie difference between these so-called “diet” wines and regular wines is very negligible – 97 calories for 5 ounces of White Lie, compared to 100 to 115 calories for 5 ounces of most other dry whites and reds (with the exceptions of sherries and ports, which are higher). For the mere 18-calorie difference, I would much rather have a glass of wine I really enjoy!

There’s evidence that suggests that moderate wine drinking (up to two glasses a day for women) does not contribute to weight gain and offers significant health benefits. I personally don’t believe in diets – I’m a proponent of long-term healthy eating. If you eat the right foods, stop when you’re full and get some exercise on a regular basis, you shouldn’t have to deprive yourself of the pleasure of a glass or two of your favorite wine at the end of the day.

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