Why knowing the difference between dry and sweet wine is good for your health

A new study points to benefits of dry red wine, but do you know how to choose one?

Another study confirms that red wine can be good for your health — if it’s dry and consumed in moderation. But before you go reaching for a bottle of red, do you know the difference between dry and sweet? That can be confusing, particularly when a wine is fruity.

People tend to reach for a bottle when a study suggests drinking wine is good, like the one recently released about those with type 2 diabetes who drank one (and only one) glass of dry red wine with dinner based on a Mediterranean diet. (See the Time piece that highlights the benefits, like a higher good HDL cholesterol level, a significant drop in components of metabolic syndrome, and better sleep.) The question is: Which bottle should you be reaching for if you don’t understand the difference between dry and sweet red wine?

It’s important to realize that before the juice from grapes becomes wine, it contains natural sugar from the fruit grown on the vine. Without the sugar, the juice couldn’t become wine because it’s the sugar that turns into alcohol during the fermentation process. A wine is considered sweet when it contains a certain amount of residual sugar, or sugar that’s leftover after fermentation.


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