The skinny on ‘lite’ alcohol
Marketing gimmick or healthy choice? Lite alcohol is sold to us as having lower kilojoules, but what does it really mean when it comes to wine?
Light vs. lite
Lite wine contains fewer kilojoules than normal wine. Light wines, on the other hand, contain less alcohol per serving (they are classified as such when they contain 10% or less alcohol).
How much is enough?
Kelly Schreuder, registered dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, says: “It’s sometimes reported that moderate alcohol consumption like this is associated with increased levels of good cholesterol. However, if you do not drink, there is no reason to start.”
The adverse health risks of over-consumption of alcohol far outweigh the potential benefit of a moderate amount.
“Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, no matter what type you choose,” says Schreuder.
Always in moderation
While lite alcohol is seen to be healthier because it contains fewer kilojoules, don’t fall into the trap of eating more. You also need to be careful that you don’t drink more because you’re essentially consuming less alcohol.
Alcohol, much like sugar, is an empty calorie – it provides no nutritional value to our bodies so we should always consume it in moderation or not at all.
“My personal opinion is lite wine should not be used as an excuse to drink more,” explains Schreuder. “Ideally we should always use alcohol either as a treat, in moderation and with respect, or not at all.”
Are there any benefits to choosing a lite wine? Schreuder says it may be a helpful way to save a few calories and manage social situations where you might usually drink more than you should.
Reduce your consumption
Schreuder shares some tips on how to reduce your alcohol intake in social situations:
• Order sparkling water as your first drink.
• Sip the wine slowly and add ice or sparkling water.
• Say no to routine top-ups so that you can keep track of how much you are drinking.