Wine, Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar Levels

Part of my investigations while I was writing about Wine, Carbohydrates and the Atkins Diet was to figure out just how alcohol was related to carbohydrates. For example, even though a glass of wine normally has under 3g of carbohydrates, Atkins advises you do NOT drink any during the first 2 weeks of the diet. This is NOT because of the carbs! It is because of another trait of wine and alcohol - that it affects your blood sugar level.

The human body is designed to pay close attention to the amount of sugar in your blood stream, or your blood sugar level. When you get too little sugar, your body begins to crave food - and sugars in particular. When you then gorge on ice cream, the blood sugar levels go flying and you feel really good. But then the sugars leave your bloodstream and you again crave them. It is this yo-yo effect and subsequent cravings that many diets try to get under control.

After a few weeks on a diet, your body begins to adjuts to the new regimen, and if you are not causing "spikes" by eating high-sugar items, your whole blood sugar cycle begins to even out, which reduces or eliminates those cravings to begin with.

Where carbs and sugars normally RAISE your blood sugar level (causing those spikes and perpetuating the problem), alcohol acts to LOWER your blood sugar level. The importance of blood sugar is that, when the pancreas sees you have too much sugar in your system, it starts releasing insulin to bind with those sugars and get them into your cells for storage until "later". But again, while most carbs cause that blood sugar level to go up, alcohol is actually a case where the blood sugar levels drop.

So while you might want to keep wine out of your diet for the first two weeks on the Atkins and other low-carb diets, be sure to enjoy it after that! The USDA lists carb values of 0.8g to 1.8g for each glass of wine. The wine will help your meals taste better, will bring you many other health benefits, and its blood-sugar lowering effect might nicely counteract any extra little carb-treats you give yourself!


A great deal of research and work went into my wine / health pages. If you use this information, please credit me properly. Thanks!

Wine and Health

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.