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#ThirstyThursday Travel Tip for #Wine Lovers

11 Aug

Drinking wine out of a disposable plastic or paper cup really annoys me. Recently, while traveling and attending conferences in California, the floppy plastic cup wine service ruined the moment. (Sidenote: hello? We’re in California… wine country… plastic cups.. what??). Wine is an experience and a tasty bev of course but delivery matters. Well, it matters, to me. I’m betting it matters to many of you as well. On one of my four flights, I can’t remember which, I thumbed through SkyMall and found an answer to floppy plastic cup wine service–the packable wine glass by Megellan’s Travel. You may look like a snob pulling it out of your bag but… who cares?!?!!? You’ll enjoy your wine and the experience. Check it out. This is a Sippin’Smart pick for sure!

Can I have #wine with MyPlate?

20 Jun

I’m guessing by now, you’ve all seen the USDA’s new MyPlate guide. Goodbye confusing pyramid and hello plate method. Which, by the way, isn’t new unless you’re the USDA. The new food icon comes after the January 2011 release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s unlikely you’ll hear that alcohol consumption fits on the new MyPlate placemat. But deep in the heart of Chapter 3 titled, Foods and Food Components to Reduce, you’ll find this statement about alcohol.

“If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.”

So the answer is YES. You can have wine, beer or a coctail with your plate. Just remember moderation is key. Cheers!

Don’t worry… I’m still Sippin’

4 Jun

Sippin' on a nice Rose`

Proof-doing a little research 🙂

It’s been a busy month keeping up with travel, friends, and the office. I’m still sippin’ though! May was full of Sippin’ science and concoctions. As we enter the heat, I’m wondering what you would like to read about over the Summer? I’ve got some great posts lined up for you but would love to hear from you in the comments section. Stay tuned…

2010 Federal Dietary Guidelines Underscore Moderation, Standard Drinks Education

2 Feb

Federal Officials Say Guidelines Should Serve as Basis for U.S. Nutrition Advice and Public Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 2, 2011 – The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released this week by the Federal government, underscored the definition of a standard drink and urged that the Alcohol Guideline be used as the basis for nutrition advice and public policy.  

The Guidelines define a drink as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (40% ABV), 5 ounces of wine (12% ABV) and12 ounces of regular beer (5% ABV).  The Guidelines point out that each of these standard drinks contain 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol.

“The Government emphasized the scientific fact that a standard drink of beer, wine and distilled spirits each contains the same amount of alcohol,” said Dr. Monica Gourovitch, Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs.  Gourovitch noted that this scientific fact is also taught by public health organizations, as well as other leading federal agencies on alcohol matters, and state education programs.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, which jointly release the Guidelines every five years, stated that “All federally-issued dietary guidance for the general public is required by law to be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

Gourovitch added, “The Dietary Guidelines serve as the basis for nutrition policy in the United States and should also serve as the basis for all alcohol-related public policy at the federal and state levels.  Alcohol is alcohol and it all should be treated equally, as a matter of public health and public policy.”

Guidelines Encourage Those Who Drink To Do So in Moderation 

“Moderate and responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults can be part of an enjoyable lifestyle and diet choice.  As with all things, moderation is the key and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines also make this clear,” said Gourovitch.

 

The 2010 Guidelines define moderate drinking for adults of legal drinking age as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.  Some people should not drink alcohol beverages at all. 

The Guidelines also discuss the potential risks and benefits associated with alcohol consumption; these health effects are the same for beer, wine or distilled spirits.

Since the release of the 2000 Guidelines, the Distilled Spirits Council has distributed several thousand copies of the Alcohol Guideline to physicians, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals.  In recognition of these outreach efforts, the Distilled Spirits Council was selected by USDA in 2008 as a corporate partner for promoting moderate and responsible consumption alcohol.

“The Council will continue its leadership role in disseminating the 2010 Alcohol Guideline to healthcare professionals across the country,” said Gourovitch. 

To view the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans go to: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf

To view the USDA Backgrounder on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/Backgrounder.pdf

Reposted with permission from Lisa Hawkins  http://www.distilledspirits.org

Nutritional Labels for Wine & Spirits: Who Cares?

25 Jan

Last week I read the article Cheers? Booze bottles may get nutritional labels. Immediately, my nutrition-conscience brain started pondering this interesting proposition. Would it make a difference if you knew your glass of wine had 120 calories or your shot of vodka had 100 calories? For some, maybe, while others simply don’t care or have acquired the knowledge elsewhere. Don’t get me started on the personal responsibility side of human consumption choices; if you’re old enough to consume alcohol, you’re hopefully mature enough to make the appropriate decisions for your health. Obviously, as the creator of SippinSmart, I am an advocate for responsible drinking, of which the primary premise is moderation. Some may argue more nutritional oversight is needed for those who can’t or choose not to use wine and spirits in moderation. If someone truly has a problem with alcohol consumption—then yes, they have a problem, period. No “nutrition facts” label will fix the potentially pathological choices they may make (like going through the fast food drive-through daily; being slapped in the head with nutrition facts hasn’t changed much there). But this is about the average alcohol consumer.

It’s clear that wine and spirits have calories from alcohol and sugar. Given that most of the beverages in question have no other macronutrients to consider like protein or fat, it seems the only reason to place the facts label on a bottle is simply to give calories per serving. Let’s go back to this responsible moderate drinker. I’ll use myself as an example. For me, having a glass of wine or a cocktail is an experience. Sometimes it’s educational; sometimes it’s a pure treat or most often an extension of a planned and balanced meal. It’s hard for me to say whether calories in a glass of wine, a beer or cocktail make a difference to me since I’ve known that information for so long. Does that make me responsible? Well, maybe. I’m a registered dietitian which makes this discussion, I think, even more interesting. I could be on the legalistic calorie-counting side of things or I could lean towards the healthy balanced side (yes friends, booze has potential health benefits). Caloric knowledge is important, but it’s not whole story.

Michael Dragutsky is a physician, winery owner and fellow Memphian. I asked the Cornerstone Cellars’ owner his thoughts on the topic from an industry and medical perspective. Dr. Dragutsky states that “the nutritional content of wine and spirits is probably fairly constant across most brands. Unlike the sometimes big differences in nutritional contents of similar foods, the caloric content of alcohol shouldn’t vary among different producers and varietals.” He also suggested that “perhaps a nutritional chart should be posted where alcohol is sold to inform consumers of the nutritional value (and perhaps health benefits and risks) instead of making every winery or distiller put essentially the same label on all alcohol products.” This seems like a smart and potentially more cost-effective way of providing information to consumers.

“Wine and spirits are more of a luxury item than a foodstuff” says Dr. Dragutsky. “Going to the French bakery one does not ask how many carbs in the croissant.  I think the same idea holds for wine. People who are really interested in the caloric content can easily find out this info.”  Dr. Dragutsky and I share a similar opinion about labeling wine, beer & spirits. He summarized his opinion like this, “I’m not saying the nutritional value isn’t important, just that I’m not sure wine and spirits are in the same category as foodstuffs which can vary tremendously in their nutritional content and additives, and you often really don’t know what’s in a packaged food without reading the label.” 

Don’t confuse counting calories with using nutritional information to gain a general knowledge of a product or ingredients useful for responsible decision making. They are not one in the same. It’s important for someone to know if a product may contain a potential allergen or a poorly tolerated ingredient. This could be a helpful addition to the bottles in question. It seems, however, that adding the nutrition facts label to a wine or spirits bottle appears to be basically about calorie content. If the industry wants to “keep up,” then go for it. I’m just not sure it really matters.