By Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
Deprivation is the inevitable demise of even the best dietary intent. Every day, PCOS Divas make diet and lifestyle choices that fuel our bodies and balance our hormones. It is important, however, to mindfully plan indulgences so that we never feel deprived. It is impossible to create a sustainable lifestyle if you eliminate all of life’s pleasures. Who would want to live that way anyway? Whether that indulgence is a scoop of dairy-laden ice cream on a hot summer’s day or a glass of wine with friends, enjoy all things in moderation.
Sometimes you just need to indulge in a full-on dietary departure. Other times, you can modify an indulgence to make it more PCOS Diva diet friendly. Recently, I have discovered wine with lower levels of sugar. Since blood sugar balance is central to feeling good with PCOS, this was a game-changer. I enjoy Dry Farm Wines, but because they must be ordered from the source, I have been looking for locally available alternatives.
Choosing a Low-Sugar Wine
Look for a wine with around 13% alcohol or less but be aware that the higher the alcohol content of the wine, the less residual sugar it contains, but the more calories the wine has.
Sugar naturally occurs in grapes, and some sugar remains after the yeast turns it into alcohol during the fermentation process. As a rule, the dryer the wine, the more sugar the yeast has consumed and the more alcohol it contains. Most winemakers do not add sugar to wine during production though some in France, Germany, and parts of the United States are permitted to do so since they begin with lower sugar grapes.
Low sugar wine is not necessarily labelled as such. It helps to know your varietals.
Dry reds like pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, malbec, and merlot typically have between 1 and 3 grams of sugar per 5 oz. serving.
Dry whites like chardonnay, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc tend to be in the 1.5 to 3 grams of sugar per 5 oz. serving range as well.
Sparkling wines and champagnes are higher in sugar content and usually contain between 6-20 grams per serving. Look for very dry varieties such as extra brut if bubbly is your passion.
Fortified wines like port, sherry, and marsala are very high in sugar and hover around 15 grams of sugar per serving.
My Low-Sugar Wine Recommendations
- Fit Vine wine is commonly available, and the varieties have less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. You can use their store finder to see if it is available in a store near you. I recently enjoyed a glass of FitVine Pinot Noir which is 13.9% alcohol and .03 grams sugar per serving.
- Consider making a spritzer with your favorite dry wine and a bit of sparkling mineral water with frozen fruit like peaches or berries.
Remember drinking wine should be a mindful indulgence and not an every night occurrence for those with PCOS. Alcohol can be disruptive to our hormones, but as with most things in life, moderation is the key to maintaining a balanced diet. When indulging in wine, a low-sugar wine is optimum for blood sugar control.
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.