Because the caloric information is not readily available on every bottle, individuals with dietary restrictions are at a loss. The important facts about calories in wine have been a mystery to you until now. This article provides the facts about calories in all types of wine.
You may have been in the middle of your glass of Merlot the other night and thought to yourself, “I don’t actually know how many calories I’m drinking.” You’re not alone, and there’s a reason for that. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not require calorie and nutrition labeling on bottles of wine. It is only recently that some manufacturers have started to put them on the bottles of their own accord.
What do the Calories in Wine Come From?
Calories in wine mainly come from the alcohol. Alcohol adds seven calories per gram to your drink. That means, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the number of calories.
So, if your aim is to choose a bottle of wine that is lower in calories, you need to pay close attention to the alcohol by volume (ABV) measurement. If you select a bottle of wine that is between 9-12% ABV, you are choosing a bottle that is somewhat lower in calories compared to most other wines.
Sugar is the other significant factor that contributes to calories in wine. Sugar adds four calories per gram to the wine. That being said, sweeter wines are going to be higher in calories just like wines with a higher ABV will be higher in calories. In other words, since Moscatos are high in both alcohol content and sugar, they will also be very high in calories.
Red or White?
You may have heard that white wine is lower in calories than red, but this is not always the case. The key to choosing a low-cal wine is to pick one that has a low ABV and is low in sugar. This means that, potentially, an extremely sweet white wine can be higher in calories than a very dry red wine that is lower in alcohol content.
Red wines have a higher ABV than most whites. If you are trying to be careful, it is essential to check the ABV for the amount of sugar before you assume that white wine has fewer calories. For example, your typical glass of Cabernet or Pinot Noir is about the same amount of calories (approximately 123 calories) as a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. So if you’re a red wine person, don’t feel like you have to give it up for white.
What About Champagne?
You have to be especially careful when it comes to buying champagne and sparkling wines. In order to make the wine sparkle and fizz, winemakers must add a lot of extra sugar, resulting in a higher calorie count.
If you want to make sure you’re not consuming those extra empty calories, make sure it is labeled “brut”. Brut sparkling wines have little, or no extra sugar added. The champagne labeled “sec” or “doux” are the ones with all that excess sugar and, therefore, calories.
Now you have a tactic to help you choose your next bottle of low-cal wine. But if you are really watching your figure, here are a few more tips that will provide you with some healthier options that still let you enjoy that glass of wine.
Because red wine is a low carb, it can make you feel hungry when you’re actually not. That feeling in combination with any loss of inhibitions you may be experiencing from the alcohol can ruin your diet by tricking you into eating when you don’t need to. And of course when this happens your body always craves the more fatty and salty foods that aren’t good for you. To avoid this, try eating something high in protein right before you drink your glass of wine — not a big portion, but just enough to counteract the sensation that the alcohol is making you hungry.
The 5 oz. glass
A glass of wine is classified as five ounces. It can be tempting to come home after a long day and pour yourself an extra large glass of wine, but that is also a whole lot of extra calories, especially if you’re tempted to pour yourself another. To make sure you’re not consuming any more calories than you mean to, be sure that your glass is only five ounces — also keep this in mind when at a restaurant where the typical pour may be six ounces.
Try a Spritzer or a European Wine
Especially in the summer, a refreshing treat and a slightly healthier alternative to a full glass of wine can be a white wine spritzer — it’s half the amount of wine you’d normally drink (2.5 ounces) and club soda over ice. Also know that, because of their stricter regulations, European wines are typically lower in alcohol content and therefore lower in calories.
Moderation is Key
Drinking in moderation is considered one glass of wine a day for women and two glasses a day for men. That is only five ounces a day for women and ten for men. Of course, you can drink more if you’d like, but remember that even if you think you’ve dieted well that day, that one extra glass can easily take the place of the dessert that you were so good about avoiding.
At the end of the day, the amount of calories in wine is far less than that of beer, liquor, and cocktails. So, before you choose a wine based on the calories, consider the occasion, food pairings, and taste. And remember that all calories are not created equal. The calories in wine are much more beneficial to your body than, say, Twinkies. So eat, drink, and enjoy.
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