The Times November 26th 2020

The (good) lockdown drinking guide.


It could give you a banging headache. “Red wine contains higher levels of congeners, by-products of the fermenting process, which may make the hangover worse,” says Dominique Ludwig, a nutritionist. And while a little might help to maintain cognitive health, “more than a moderate consumption of red wine will gradually reduce the brain’s capacity to store new memories”, Marber says.

Remember, all wine is made from the fermented juice of grapes that contain about 16g of sugar in every 100g, so it’s never going to be good for the waistline. “And there’s evidence that white wines are easier to drink than red or bubbly, which can lead to us consuming more than we intended,” Ludwig says.

“Gin is low in sugar, and a single measure on the rocks contains about 50 calories,” Ludwig says.

“It is the mixers that are the problem as they can add one to three teaspoons of sugar to your glass, so choose wisely,” Ludwig says. Some fashionable lower-sugar tonics are sweetened with fructose, which is sweeter than sugar, so less of it is used to achieve the same taste. “But these are still not sugar-free and can still add one to two teaspoons of sugar to your tipple, so read the labels,” Ludwig says.

All sparkling wines contain sugar, which is needed for the fermentation process that creates the bubbles. “Sparkling drinks are also thought to speed up the rate of alcohol absorption into the bloodstream, so you will feel drunk more quickly,” Ludwig says.

“Brut champagne contains the least amount of sugar — about half a teaspoon per flute — while prosecco has less than a teaspoon,” Ludwig says. “Demi-sec champagne normally contains double the sugar content of brut or extra brut.”

Try making a champagne cocktail by adding orange or grapefruit juice and you will add a small amount of vitamin C (although you won’t necessarily save calories). “Remember that champagne flutes are usually smaller than wine glasses, so you might drink less volume,” Ludwig says. “Also, very fizzy drinks are less easy to gulp down.”

vodka and tomato juice combined with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and salt, it does have some nutritive value. “It’s a case of detox-retox in a glass,” Ludwig says. “The tomato juice will be rich in lycopene — a powerful antioxidant found in cooked tomatoes — and other nutrients that are beneficial to health.”

Dominique Ludwig

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