Have you considered calories in Prosecco? Or sugar in Prosecco? There's no doubt that there has been a lot of drinking going on over the past six months and a lot of it has been our favourite sparkling wine. And in many ways it's understandable.
The sun has been out, the gardens and parks have glowed with flowers and rich green grass and the berries and fruits have been literally dropping from the trees. But are we consuming alcoholic drinks without considering the other potentially harmful aspects hidden in the bottle and missing from the label?
Wine in particular is a major culprit when it comes to poor labelling and hidden sugar, which for those seeking to count their calories makes it much harder to do.
Historically, consumers have grabbed a bottle, popped the cork and drunk a wine if it smells and tastes good. We are all becoming much more aware of our well-being and, although many of us still like a drink or two, we want to know what we're drinking.
Prosecco has been a huge hit with drinkers for some time now. According to Statista, more than 400 million bottles were sold last year globally. However, many don't know how much sugar and how many calories are in their bottle because it's not indicated on the label.
Alcohol is well known for offering empty calories. If you want to cut calories from your drinking significantly then you have to cut down your alcohol intake. So that gin and tonic you look forward to on a Friday evening could be switched out for an alcohol-free gin alternative with a slimline version tonic to cut down the calories.
A pint of beer has approximately 240 calories - equal to a mars bar. Two glasses of red wine are the same as eating a cheeseburger at roughly 320 calories.
Prosecco is known to be one of the less calorific drinks available with a traditional glass holding around 1.5g of sugar per glass (80 calories).
In the short term this is not something to be concerned about if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay fit, but over time this can cause weight gain and you may not realise that it's the alcohol and added sugar in the Prosecco that's doing all the damage.
Drier Prosecco (known as Brut) can have a reduced calorie count of anywhere between 60 and 80 calories because it contains less sugar to sweeten it. A sweeter version, known confusingly as Extra Dry can contain up to 120 calories per glass and 12-17g of sugar per litre. A Dry Prosecco can equally befuddle consumers as it contains 17-32g of sugar per litre - that's almost a teaspoon of sugar per glass!
Thomson & Scott Prosecco contains 0.7g of sugar per 100ml glass. The alcohol level remains at 11% so like most other Prosecco, it will retain calories because of the alcohol. But by avoiding the addition of unnecessary sugar during the production process the calorie count is 63 calories per 100ml glass.
Focusing purely on the calorie count loses sight of the fact that sugar is harmful in a number of ways. Most obviously, you'll experience a sugar crash each time you have a hangover from alcohol adding to that unpleasant struggle the next morning and a craving for carbohydrates.
Too much hidden sugar intake over time can lead to more serious issues and illnesses and so checking your overall sugar intake is vital for a healthy lifestyle as you mature. As a brief guide to sugar levels in alcohol where the ingredients are not indicated clearly on the labelling here are some basic numbers to consider:
A standard gin and tonic contains 18g of sugar (4 teaspoons)
A vodka and cranberry contains 30g of sugar (7.5 teaspoons)
A rum and coke - 27.5g (7 teaspoons)
A glass of dry white wine contains 1.5g of sugar (a third of a teaspoon)
Thomson & Scott Prosecco contains 0.63g of organic sugar per 100ml glass (one sixth of a teaspoon)
Sugar of course holds no nutritional value - it is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. We obtain natural sugars from fruit and vegetables that are more than sufficient to run our bodies and maintain energy.
Glucose can become harmful to our blood as it then makes our pancreas produce insulin in preparation for exercise but we are not always ready to burn that insulin so it is then transported to our fat stores. This in turn builds up our overall body fat.
Ongoing high levels of insulin production in this way can lead to serious issues with our health.
Fructose is considered by many medical experts to be the most damaging element of sugar. High levels of fructose can flood and injure the liver.
Luckily Thomson & Scott are on hand with an amazing Prosecco that avoids adding unnecessary sugar. Our organic, vegan Prosecco contains only 7g of sugar per litre.
We have made it our mission from the start to promote transparency in wine production and wine labelling. We make sure that we include nutritional information on each bottle.
Sugar levels and therefore calorie levels differ depending on how Prosecco is produced by different winemakers.
Prosecco produces a number of different variations or versions of sparkling wine - Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-sec.
What makes them different from each other is the amount of residual sugar in each bottle. This in turn determines how dry or sweet the wine will be once opened.
Sugar is added to Prosecco to help the fermentation process. The yeasts in the wine effectively ‘eat’ the sugar during this part of the production process and turns into alcohol. So if you’re looking for a drier Prosecco, the fermentation process will need to have taken longer. Sweeter tasting Prosecco have been ‘interrupted’ during the fermentation process.
Here’s a quick guide:
This is the driest option for a Prosecco drinker. It will be lower in residual sugar and offer a higher acidity.
Prosecco Extra Dry
Confusingly, although it sounds as though this will be an even drier option than Brut, it is in fact higher in sugar content, offering a sweeter taste. This terminology is confusing to consumers and Thomson & Scott is campaigning to have this updated in both British and EU law to enable a clearer understanding of the amounts of sugar ‘hidden’ in Prosecco and other sparkling wine.
Contrary to its name, Dry Prosecco is even higher in sugar content and sweeter still. This is often serves alongside sweeter foods such as cakes and pastries.
Prosecco Demi-sec is the sweetest version. It carries between 32 and 50 grams per litre - that’s between 6 and 8 teaspoons of sugar per bottle.
Understanding the number of units you are consuming helps to keep a check on your alcohol and sugar intake and therefore your calorie intake.
According to Drinkaware, we shouldn't "drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis."
A 125ml glass of 12% Alcohol by Volume (ABV) Prosecco contains 1.5 units.
A standard bottle of Prosecco holds 9 units of alcohol.
There's no doubt that Prosecco and Champagne are regarded by the majority of consumers as a drink to enjoy at celebrations, parties and other important events.
- Your host may be keen to top you up so you might want to practice putting your hand over your glass until it's finished to count a whole unit.
- Alternatively you can have your initial celebratory glass and then switch to a soft drink that doesn't contain more calories. Avoid fizzy drinks such as cola or lemonade as they often contain high doses of sugar.
As more people choose to mix their alcohol intake with non-alcoholic alternatives the choice of alcohol-free drinks will become more widely available at events.
Mocktails are a great way of shifting you to non-alcoholic options without looking like you're stepping away from the party. But again, make sure they are not too fruit-heavy. Diluting with sparkling water or low-calorie tonic water or soda water can work well if you're drinking across an evening.
Opt for a non-alcoholic sparkling or still wine if available. Thomson & Scott Noughty is quickly becoming the alcohol-free drink of choice at many events and parties. Organic, vegan and alcohol-free, as well as being halal certified, it offers a delicious dry sparkling alternative to Prosecco and is the same visually if you don't want to draw attention to the fact you're not drinking alcohol.
There are a number of lower alcohol alternatives to traditional Prosecco. But check the alcohol volume on the bottle before accepting a glass and make the calculation as to how much you can safely consume. One trick with white wine is to mix it with sparkling water and turn it into a spritzer, which will dramatically lower the alcohol level if your ratio is heavy on the water rather than wine!
There's more to life than a group trip to the pub to celebrate a work anniversary or landmark. Look at organising a group activity either indoors or out and maybe celebrate with a limited drink moment to toast the celebration before or after.
It sounds simple but not having a glass in your hand means you're less likely to be topped up by the host and lose track of how much alcohol you're consuming.