It’s January, the kids are back in school, your mother in law has been shipped back to Florida, and you’re back to your usual 7:30 AM commute. You’ve made a promise to yourself to try that new kick-boxing class. 


At the end of the day you’ve battled traffic, that last minute deadline, and the gym parking lot. As you bite into your bun-less Keto burger, you say to yourself, “I’ve earned a beverage” 

Of course you have, but the new healthy you is saying, “I think Vodka is sugar free?”  And the Ghost of Christmas past whispers in your ear, “You still have a few bottles to make sangria…” We all want to find that happy medium. 


There is a way you can still enjoy your happy hour and not compromise the hard work you’ve been doing at the gym. Let me make this clear, this is not a guide to have 5 drinks with no calories. This is to guide for when you decide to treat yourself to that one (or two) drinks with your new diet. 


Most who start the diet journey are on a strict no carbohydrate and high protein regimen. 

So how does that glass of wine fit into your diet? Clean wine is the answer. 


What is clean wine? 

There are so many names for it. Most ways to describe clean wine is biodynamic, organic and low alcohol. There are wines out there that are highly processed and contain some questionable additives, and even pesticides/herbicides. The FDA has approved 76 chemicals and additives to be used in the winemaking process. Most of these chemicals cause that familiar “wine hangover” we’ve all experienced after even one glass. 


Finding clean wine can seem challenging, especially when you don’t know what to look for. 

Here are a few simple rules you can remember when shopping for that “healthy bottle of wine.”


  • Stay away from very inexpensive wine. Most mass produced wines contain a high amount of sugar and processed juice, the label may say “skinny,” but it may be the exact opposite. There are plenty of amazing mid-priced wines that don’t contain chemicals and additives. I always suggest that it’s best to purchase wines that are fairly local. Paso Robles has excellent red blends that are not over processed, low alcohol and pack a punch in the tannin department.


  • If you’re sensitive to sulfates, look for organic wines. Organic wines will state “organic” on the back label. It’s that simple! Sulfates are a natural element that some are sensitive to. It can cause a quick headache or inflammation. Wines containing high levels of sulfates are mostly the cheaper, larger quantity produced wines. Again, purchasing locally made wines, or organic wines is a good way of avoiding the over-processed. 


  • If you’re not into the reds and are looking for sparkling or white, use the same rules above and look for Extra Brut or Brut wines. My personal favorite, if you’re a really big fan of the drier whites, is Blanc de Noir. Of course there are great options in both categories of wines from other countries like Australia, New Zealand, France and Chile. 


The big question after utilizing all these rules is how much sugar is in our wine?


Wine Folly created a great guideline to really help you determine the sugar content.


Bone Dry > 1 sugar calorie per glass


Dry > 0-6 sugar calories per glass


Off Dry > 6-21 sugar calories per glass


Sweet > 21-72 sugar calories per glass


Very Sweet > 72 – 130 sugar calories per glass


As Wine Folly states, the terms above are unofficial but do show common ranges. Currently most countries, including the US, aren’t required to label actual sweetness levels in wine. Sometimes the description on the back can give you some clues. 


If you’re finding yourself still puzzled when picking your cheat day wine. A quick search online can always help you decide. Wine Searcher, Bevmo, and other retailers sometimes have a better description and reviews online.


Soon you’ll be enjoying that cheat day beverage after a hard day of work.

We don’t condone drinking on the treadmill. 


Happy hunting!