How to imbibe without ruining your diet.
That relaxing feeling of unwinding with a glass of wine after a long is well-documented with Instagram memes. But turn to another corner of the internet, and you’ll find astounding before and after photos of people who say they lost a significant amount of weight just by cutting out wine and booze. So just how many calories are you sipping in that refreshing Riesling?
How Many Calories Are in a Glass of Wine?
Before we answer this question, the first thing you need to figure out is what a serving of wine actually looks like. The calories in wine are measured by the wine’s serving size, which is typically a 5-ounce glass of wine that’s 12 percent alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That might be a lot less than what you liberally pour yourself from a bottle in your wine rack or what a restaurant or bar serves. According to the NIAAA, here’s how many calories are in different types of wine:
- Red wine: 125 calories per 5-ounce serving
- White wine: 121 calories per 5-ounce serving
- Sweet wine: 165 calories per 5-ounce serving
- Sherry: 75 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Port: 90 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Champagne: 84 calories per 4-ounce serving
For more specific calorie contents of specific wine varietals, check out this guide at VinePair.com.
The Difference in Calories Between White and Red Wine
The calories in wine come from both the wine’s alcohol and sugar content. According to VinePair.com, alcohol adds about 7 calories per gram and sugar adds 4 calories per gram, so a combination of the wine’s sweetness and alcohol content is what makes different types of wine have different calorie counts.
White wines have slightly fewer calories than reds, but the difference is minimal, says nutritionist Julie Mancuso, RHN. White wines such as Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc can have about 105 to 110 calories per serving. If you prefer red wine, the drier the type, the lower in calories the wine will be. Pinot Noir and Malbec are among the lower-calorie reds, with about 115 to 120 calories per serving.
Bottom line: Drink the wine you like best without worrying about how many calories are in that specific varietal. You’re drinking as an indulgence, and you should enjoy it!
Will Drinking Wine Make You Gain Weight?
That depends. If you have a regular after-work wine sipping habit, cutting back could contribute to weight loss, since the alcohol does add extra calories to your daily calorie count (especially if you drink Olivia Pope-sized servings). That said, a single 5-ounce serving of wine has fewer calories than a glass of soda and not much more than a glass of OJ, so it can be part of a healthy diet without causing weight gain as long as you don’t go overboard.
One word of caution: “Drinking alcohol can lead to more snacking or poor food choices, which can cause weight gain,” says clinical dietitian Becky Kerkenbush, MS, RD. It’s a lot easier to overdo it on cheese and crackers or handfuls of bar snacks when your inhibitions are lower.
Stick to one glass, avoid excess snacking, and watch your intake of other high-cal drinks throughout the day, and the calories in wine shouldn’t have much of an impact on your weight.