Tag Archives: health

Sippin’ Smart on Local Memphis Live – Have a Healthy & Happy New Year!

30 Dec

It’s always a pleasure to join the hosts of Local Memphis Live on ABC24. Today we talked about sippin’ smart for a healthy New Year’s Eve. If you missed the segment, check it out here. Cheers!


No Green Beer Here!

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

I have to say over the years I haven’t put much thought into what St. Patrick’s Day was all about other than wearing green and partying. So, this year I thought I’d get a little history! According to History.com, St. Patrick’s Day began after his death in the 5th century. It just so happened to fall during the Lenten season. After a religious service early in the day a celebraton occured without the dietary limitations observed during Lent. And, my friends, we have the St. Patricks day celebration!

Traditions are around for a reason. You just don’t change good things. One example for today is beer! Why take a perfect, velvet-like liquid and color it green-ICK!

My recommendation for this St. Patty’s Day Thirsty Thursday is a good Irish Stout! You can wear your green shirt but don’t mess with the beer.

Not only is beer a perfect choice for today, it’s a nutrient-rich brew!

Did you know that moderate consumption of beer may aid in…

Stick with tradition today and have a good Irish Stout!

Cheers, to your health!

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.

Beer… Fun and Healthy?

8 Sep

Did you go to the Zoo Brew at the Memphis Zoo? What a great event! It was an educational and tasty evening presented by Southwestern Beverage Distributing.

Usually, we hear about how wine, especially red wine is the superior alcoholic beverage choice for health benefits. However, if you a beer lover, you’ll be happy to know studies suggest the moderate drinking of any alcohol type seems to reduce cardiovascular risk. Both wine and beer can be a part of a healthy diet yet they contain different beneficial substances. Hops, an essential ingredient in most beers, have a particular flavonoid that may improve or delay the onset of type-2 diabetes and potentially decrease atherosclerosis. Some studies suggest that beer may even aid in preventing carcinogenesis and could protect bones from osteoporosis. Don’t succumb to the pressure of your wine-drinking friends (me), raise your glass and toast to health benefits regardless of your beverage choice!

Sonoma Sippin’

18 Aug

Monday and Tuesday were great days full of wine tasting! I’ve visited several winieries. Most of them were glad to discuss wine, health and opposition of HR 5034.  I’ll try to name a few…

Merry Edwards

J Vineyards



Toad Hollow

Iron Horse

Francis Ford Coppola


… stay tuned…

Viva Vino!

28 Jul

The French say it well…. À votre santé or “drink to your health!”  

If you are not already a wine drinker, jump on the wine wagon, sip smart, and ride on to a healthier heart! According to Harvard researchers (among others), wine consumed in moderation may lower one’s overall risk for heart disease. This fermented delight also has minimal calories for mega health perks. The good stuff in wine is resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that keeps our tickers happy.

With so many different grapes in the world, there are multitudes of wine options that have evolved. If you prefer sweeter drinks, consider choosing a sweeter white wine like a Riesling. At five ounces, you’ll serve yourself 120 calories. Pair your Riesling with tuna sashimi or any sushi roll, and your taste buds and heart thank you. Red wine packs more of an antioxidant punch compared to white wines.  Try one of the most versatile reds out there from a red wine grape called Pinot Noir (Jill’s fav) or a Petite Syrah (Leslie’s fav). This heart-healthy beverage provides 120 calories per five ounces. You’ll have your taste buds dancing if you serve these lovely reds with grilled chicken and pesto pasta.

Feel anxious or timid when trying to purchase wine? Ask the store’s employees for assistance. They can direct you to a great bottle within your price range. Stay tuned for further blog posts about wine. There’s just too much to mention all in one day! Happy sipping!