Yes, it’s that time of year again when we’re all thinking about the summer coming and trying to shift some of those extra pounds we gained through the winter. Once again we get bombarded with the latest crazy fad diets everywhere we look, but one which has stood the test of time is good old Weight Watchers.
It’s a name we’ve all heard of and their easy-to-follow eating plan makes it a simple, no-nonsense diet to follow without having to deprive yourself of the things you love. In fact, they have some amazing recipes that you would never have thought you could eat but you can – and still lose weight!
But what information do they have regarding alcoholic drinks – namely, wine? I don’t know about you, but I have always really struggled to work out alcohol units?! But they even have this one covered pretty well too with WW wine points. So let’s take a closer look and see how things measure up and just how much we can get away with drinking whilst dieting.
So if you are already familiar with Weight Watchers you will know they use SmartPoints® to calculate what you are allowed to eat a total breeze. So how do these points figure when it comes to wine consumption because let’s face it, we all love a glass of wine every now and then. Let’s take a look.
How Much Is Found In A Glass of Wine?
A standard glass of wine in the USA averages 5 fluid ounces, although you can get smaller or larger servings. If you are drinking from your own bottle, you should be getting 5 glasses from a 75cl (750ml) bottle if you are having 5 fl oz. glassfuls, but we definitely don’t recommend you drink them all in one go!
WW basically gives wine 1 SmartPoint® per fluid ounce, whether it be a smooth and juicy red wine like Merlot or a crisp and fruity white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. This is because although there can often be slightly more calories in red wine, it isn’t enough to justify a whole extra SmartPoint®. Told you they like to keep it easy! Plus, red wine edges it on the nutrient value so not as many “empty” calories so this keeps the points pretty much even.
Of course, there are exceptions like if you are drinking an extremely sweet wine like Port as it would make a 5 fl oz. glass closer to 10 SmartPoints® because of the extra sugar it contains. Although the port is usually served in a much smaller glass! If you are thinking of drinking nice dry champagne on a special occasion, a 5 fl oz. the glass would still yield 5 SmartPoints®.
Low Alcohol = Lower Wine SmartPoints®
The great news is that in the USA, WW has teamed up with a company called Cense Wines who are based in California and now makes a specially endorsed range of low alcohol wines with fewer SmartPoints® than regular wines, and they really taste great! Their range consists of the following:
Cense Cabernet = 3 SmartPoints® per 5 fl oz. glass (85 calories)
Cense Sauvignon Blanc = 3 SmartPoints® per 5 fl oz. glass (85 calories)
Cense Rose = 3 SmartPoints® per 5 fl oz. glass (85 calories)
Cense Sparkling = 3 SmartPoints® per 5 fl oz. glass (85 calories)
Cense Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritzer = 4 SmartPoints® per 12 fl oz. can (100 calories)
Cense Lemon Lime Wine Spritzer = 4 SmartPoints® per 12 fl oz. can (100 calories)
Cense Wild Berry Wine Spritzer = 4 SmartPoints® per 12 fl oz. can (100 calories)
So you can see that there is a considerable SmartPoints® saving to be had by drinking this brand instead of regular wines – and no, it doesn’t mean you can drink twice as much – ha! They are of course lower in alcohol as this is one of the major extra calorie culprits, but that can only be a good thing, right? No more hangovers with bad headaches and extreme tiredness the next day. Also, you don’t risk making a fool of yourself by necking too much alcohol. What’s more, they actually don’t taste too bad at all!
Other Benefits of Low Alcohol Wine
If you think the calories in wine are the only bad bit, well think again! I have some news for you that is hardly ever reported but is equally as important, if not more so than the actual calorie content!!! The worst thing about consuming too much alcohol is not just the empty calories it contains, but the effect it has on your metabolism - YOUR BODY WILL NOT BURN FAT ALL THE TIME THERE IS ALCOHOL IN YOUR SYSTEM – FACT! Whoa!
It’s totally true! When you consume alcohol your body has to go through two stages to convert it into a substance called acetate. This then has to be further processed in order to eliminate it from the body and these processes take time. Therefore the more alcohol you consume the longer your body stops burning fat. Not what you want when you are trying to get trim!
So think about it – what usually happens when you drink - especially too much?! You lose inhibitions and on the way home you go in search of fatty foods like fries, burgers, kebobs, etc, or you turn to the chips, pretzels, and cheese when you get there. All of this is then followed by a poor night’s sleep due to the body’s dehydration levels because you consumed too much alcohol!
This often then results in huge cravings for high-calorie foods the next morning like waffles, bacon, and syrup – oh yeah, let’s add a dollop of cream too! Or a bacon sandwich or fried breakfast the next morning, which even the most calorie-conscious person will find hard to resist when hungover and blood sugar levels have gone haywire! So all that extra fat that you consume will just be stored instead of burned, completely negating all the hard work you have done so far with your dieting, and maybe at the gym too!
And I’m sorry to say that there’s even more bad news: alcohol lowers testosterone levels AND increases estrogen levels – not good for guys or girls! This affects muscle gain as well as affecting your mood, emotions, and ability to stay focused on anything. If you are into resistance training you should note that alcohol also reduces protein synthesis by 20%, once again affecting muscle growth!
So yes, that whole bottle of wine has a lot to answer for with regard to body composition – not to mention all the other well-known health risks.
How To Avoid Drinking Too Much and Getting A Hangover?
Here are some easy ways to help you make sure you don’t overindulge with the vino:
- Make sure you eat BEFORE drinking alcohol so your body absorbs it more slowly, thereby limiting the after-effects.
- Drink a pint of water BEFORE your first glass of wine. We quite often drink alcohol too quickly due to being dehydrated before we've even started! This is especially true in the summer when we see that lovely cold bottle of rose or white wine disappearing before our eyes! So get ahead of the game with the water and this will slow down your consumption of the bad stuff. Try to alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to provide dehydration damage-limitation.
- Forget silly advice about fasting the next morning – ever tried doing that on a hangover? Impossible and really bad news for blood sugar levels which will already be very low and make you feel rough. Some great things to consume to rid a hangover quickly are:
- Coconut Water – top choice for rehydrating the body naturally
- Bananas – these will help restore potassium levels and improve muscle function
- Eggs – provide great levels of Vitamin B and Omegas, stabilize blood sugar levels and the cysteine will help get rid of toxins. Have them boiled, poached, scrambled or if you’re really brave try them raw with chili to speed up your metabolism!
- Tomato Juice – rich in vitamins and minerals which the alcohol will have stripped from your body, as well as fructose to help get rid of any lingering alcohol.
- Honey on Toast – not normally the best choice of food but given that your liver is busy trying to rid your body of alcohol this will perk up your blood sugar levels and help you feel back to normal quicker.
Try these individually or go all out and have mashed banana and honey on toast with scrambled eggs spiked with chili and washed down with tomato juice or coconut water! Divine! A still a healthy number of SmartPoints®! Plus a whole heap of vitamins and minerals.
So, if you have been really good about following your WW plan and getting results, don’t go and ruin it all with the wine. Remember to drink it just occasionally as a bit of a treat and not every day. Your body will love you for it! Give the Cense wine a go and see what you think – definitely worth a try with its lower SmartPoints®.
Also, try not to let stress or emotions get you reaching for the bottle either as this becomes a real habit. Instead, maybe try cooking something wonderful from your WW recipes or prepared meals, or go for a brisk walk/run to get any negativity out of your system.
If abstinence is way off your radar the good news is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of a glass of wine, just treat it with respect and remember how those WW wine points add up. Also, try to keep in mind the fat-burning issue mentioned above and never forget - moderation is the key to a memorable night, a lean healthy body and a happy mind knowing you managed to stay within your WW SmartPoints®!
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