What Is the Glycemic Index for Red Wine?

Three young women and young man drinking red wine, two women laughing
Friends drinking glasses of red wine. (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

After a long day at work, it can be tempting to put your feet up and relax with a glass of red wine. Although you should monitor how frequently you consume alcohol beverages, you don't have to worry about your blood sugar as you enjoy a glass of wine. The glycemic index of this sweet beverage is much lower than you'd expect.

Red Wine's Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of any food or drink indicates how the item affects your blood sugar. Foods or drinks with a high glycemic index -- 70 or above -- cause a faster rise in your blood sugar than items with a moderate- or low-glycemic index. Red wine has a glycemic index of zero. Beer and distilled beverages also have a glycemic index of zero.

No Blood Sugar Spike

Consuming high-glycemic-index products can lead to health issues. When your blood sugar rises, your body's insulin production increases. In time, this process can result in inflammation, weight gain and insulin resistance, which can progress to type 2 diabetes. Although wine isn't necessarily the healthiest beverage choice, it's beneficial in that it won't cause a spike in your blood sugar or the resulting complications.

Risks of Drinking Alcohol

Despite red wine's low glycemic index, don't be tricked into believing that frequent consumption has no side effects. In the short term, alcohol consumption can lead to problems such as impairment and mood changes. Over time, drinking red wine can increase your potential to gain weight. A 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories. If you drink several glasses over the course of the week, you'll drastically boost your caloric intake.

Understanding Red Wine's Nutrition

Evaluating the nutritional value of red wine is about more than checking its glycemic index and calories. A 5-ounce serving of red table wine has 3.8 grams of carbohydrates and 0.9 gram of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. The drink has trace amounts of minerals and vitamins, but is not a significant source of any of them.

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