Feb 25, 2014

Does alcohol turn into sugar in your body?

Aspasia asks… Hi Jenny, Am fairly new to your site, I want to try some of your recipes. Question: I love  to drink red wine preferbly dry to semi dry, I’ve heard alcohol turns into sugar, is this true? I grew up in a Greek household we always had wine with dinner, why is alcohol getting a bad rap..please explain… Thank you AF 🙂

My response… According to nutritionist Joy Bauer MS, RD, CDN, not only is it impossible for alcohol to turn into sugar in the body, it also tends to lower blood sugar levels.

“This effect is so well documented,” says Ms Bauer, “that people with diabetes are advised to adjust their insulin and oral medications if they drink alcoholic beverages. Of course, this only refers to straight liquor and wine. Cocktails made with sugary mixers are another story. Alcohol is the only food component other than fat, protein, and carbohydrate that contains calories, and like these other nutrients, excess alcohol calories can be stored. The storage form for alcohol is triglycerides, which is a fancy name for fat. In other words, alcohol acts more like fat in your body than sugar! This is why one of the first things I recommend for my clients with elevated triglyceride levels (a known risk factor for heart disease) is an immediate reduction or elimination of alcohol.”

Her advice is to keep it moderate. That’s a five-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor per day. And try your best to avoid sugary mixers like syrups, tonic, juices and regular soda.

9 Comments on "Does alcohol turn into sugar in your body?"

  1. David Harper

    In my drinking experience,(and I’ve had a lot), the healthiest alcoholic drink is Vodka and water. No sugar, no carbs,no gluten,no nothing. And no hangover, because it’s not the alcohol that gives you a hangover,it’s the sugary garbage that people mix it with.

  2. bellyfat

    And try your best to avoid sugary mixers like syrups, tonic, juices and regular soda.

    • Michael L (a chemist)

      A small correction — tonic water contains a little quinine and NO sugar. You will not raise your blood sugar or triglycerides with this!

      • Vykk Draygo

        Tonic most certainly does contain sugar. Cheap tonics will contain more, but even Fever Tree has some (between 4.8 and 9 grams per 100 ml).

        • David Harper

          I think he meant unflavored seltzer water, which contains zero sugar.

  3. rod robertson

    I can not find a simple answer to my question.
    I am healthy and am doing a zero to low carb diet for a few months.
    If bourbon has zero carbs and if I drink it straight or with a diet soda, is it still a zero carb drink.
    every site I research carries on about alcohol and your liver, alcohol and loosing control and eating too much.

    I do not need a politically correct answer, I just want the question answered.

    • Jenny

      I’m not an expert on zero to low carb diets but it seems to me that bourbon (zero carbs) + diet soda (zero carbs) would equal zero carbs… no?

    • Sb

      Hard liquor and wine doesn’t have carbs, it has calories. It is also stored as triglycerides.

    • Webzephyr

      RR,
      Don’t know if you ever got a good reply in all this time. Just saw your post. When I did low carb diet I used ketone strips to check things like that. It gave a good idea on how things like beer, wine, soda where affecting my body. An idea I hope helps. WebZ

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