Calorie Count in Wine
Read any diet program guidelines and you’re sure to see a requirement to reduce the amount of wine you consume. If you’re anything like me, reading this does not make you happy. Why not stop drinking milk? Why does every diet plan bully wine? What has wine ever done to anyone except make their life better? Bunch of haters!
Popular Diet Plans
The Weight Watchers point system assigns a 5-ounze glass of wine 5 points. So drinking one glass of wine will use about 20% of the average woman’s entire caloric point allocation for the day. Wine is made using grapes; so why not categorize it under fruits? Fruits are assigned zero points. The South Beach Diet instructs followers to eliminate wine for the entire Phase 1 period, which lasts two weeks. On the Atkins Diet, which focuses on carbohydrates and not calories, white wine is worth 2.0 points, while red is assigned 2.6. Uh, I think I like the Atkins Diet better.
So with all of this negative news about the calories in wine, what’s a wine lover supposed to do? And don’t you dare say “Stop drinking.”
I want to get to the bottom of this wine and weight-gain dilemma. We wine lovers have to stick together. I’m sharing this info with my fellow winos so we call can make more informed choices when drinking wine given the alternative is simply unthinkable.
Calories in Wine Fact or Fiction
A glass of wine has approximately 100 calories.
- FICTION: According to the USDA, a standard glass of wine has 123 calories. I think we all want wine to have only 100 calories.
A glass of wine equals 5 ounces.
- FACT: The standard serving or pour for a glass of wine is five-ounces, a measurement my friend Heather finds to be astonishingly low.
- FICTION: However, when dining out, a restaurant server in California may only pour a maximum of five ounces per law. But this doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes pour more or less. You need to be mindful of the glass size to be able to judge if you are drinking 4, 5 or 6 ounces of wine.
The calories in wine come from carbohydrates.
- FACT: The carbohydrates in wine are derived from the residual sugar.
White white has more calories than red wine.
- FICTION: Both red and white wines pack between 90 – 175 calories. Why the huge swing? It depends on the wine style.
Sweet wines tend to have more calories than dry wines.
- FACT: Since some sweet wines such as port have been fortified with a neutral spirit, the alcohol levels are high, meaning the calorie count is high.
- FICTION: Many dry wines, especially those from warm-growing regions have higher levels of alcohol, making them higher in calories.
Champagne has fewer calories than non-sparkling wine.
- FICTION: By law, the alcohol by volume (ABV) levels in champagne, the good stuff from the Champagne region in France cannot exceed 12.5%. However, sparkling wines from other countries and regions can have a varying range of ABV levels. The ABV will typically be higher. This means you will have to read the label in order to determine if your particular bottle of bubbly has greater than or less than 12.5% ABV.
Here are a five tips to help you reduce your caloric intake when drinking wine.
- Learn to recognize a standard 5-ounce serving of wine by practice at home. Get a measuring cup and fill it with five ounces of water. Then pour the water into a wine glass, repeating the process with glasses of varying sizes. This way, when you are at a restaurant, you should be able to eyeball your wine glass to determine if it is right at five ounces, under or over.
- Drink wines with a lower ABV because these wines will have a lower-calorie count. How do you determine the ABV? Use this handy formula: Check the bottle’s label for the ABV or ask your server to do it for you. Take the percentage of alcohol and multiple it by the number of ounces in your glass multiplied by 1.6.
ABV x ounces x 1.6 = Calorie Count
3. Enjoy a second glass of wine instead of a dessert with dinner. One scoop of ice cream has the same calories as a glass of wine. Who eats just one scoop of ice cream? Please!
4. Use smaller wine glasses when drinking at home. If you use a big Bordeaux-style glass, you are far more likely to over pour; and therefore consume more calories.
5. Drink wines from cooler climates; and drink more champagne. European wines tend to be lower in alcohol and Brut champagnes have less sugar added than off-dry or sweet, aka doux styles.
Losing weight doesn’t have to mean the complete elimination of wine. You just have to be a bit smarter about your selections. Cheers!
NOTE: The Food and Drug Administration is requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations to provide the caloric information for the wines they serve. Although the requirement took effect in December 2014, establishments have two years to implement the changes. However, you may see restaurants listing the calories in wine well before this deadline.