Losing weight doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up all of your favorite food and beverages. If you are a wine lover, then the good news is that when you consume wine in moderation, it doesn't add a great deal to your calorie counts. The trick is to know how many calories there are in a given amount of wine.
Wine and Calories
Wine has a number of health benefits. Wine can be part of a low-calorie weight loss diet. Plan your wine drinking in conjunction with your overall caloric intake, carefully measuring to make sure you don't over consume.
Rethinking Drinking, a site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services, has an online alcohol calorie calculator. This useful tool allows you to input the number of glasses of wine you consume per week to get your weekly caloric intake from the drinks. You may be shocked at the amount of calories consumed per week. Another helpful resource is a site such as Calorie King that gives calorie counts for some of the most popular types of wine.
What Determines Calories in Wine
Many things contribute to calories in wine.
- First, alcohol content is a significant contributor. While carbohydrates have four calories per gram, alcohol has seven calories per gram, making it more dense in calories. Because of this, wines with high alcohol content like Zinfandel tend to be higher in calories.
- Next, sugar content plays a role. The sugar dissolves in the liquid, making it more viscous. Sweet wines tend to be higher in calories than their drier brethren.
- Finally, density affects the calories in wine. The denser the wine, the more calories it has.
While there are many types of red wines, the following are the most common. Calorie count is listed per five fluid ounces, which is a standard serving of wine. All of these calorie counts are estimates, and may vary based on alcohol and sugar content in the wine.
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Super Tuscans, and Bordeaux varietals/blends have about 125 calories per five ounces. Other varietals in this classification include Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, and Mourvèdre.
- Syrah typically has around 123 calories per five fluid ounces. Syrah and Shiraz are the same thing. You can also find Syrah blended into Rhone varietals such as Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Hermitage.
- Grenache has about 122 calories per five fluid ounces. Grenache is the same thing as Garnacha, and is found in Rhone varietals, as well as Spanish Priorat.
- Zinfandel typically has a higher alcohol level, amping it up to around 131 calories per five ounce serving. Zinfandel is the same thing as the Italian wine, Primitivo.
- Sangiovese, which is found in Chianti, has approximately 128 calories per five ounces.
- Pinot Noir, or Burgundy, has approximately 122 calories per five fluid ounces.
- Petite Sirah has approximately 125 calories per five fluid ounce.
- Beaujolais, which is a younger, fruitier wine, has about 135 calories per five ounces.
White and Blush Wines
White wines tend to have lower alcohol levels. This means that dry whites are lower in calories, while sweeter whites may be more caloric. The same can be said of blush wines, which are essentially white wines left in contact with the grape skins for a short period.
- Chardonnay or Chablis has around 118 calories per five ounces.
- Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc has around 122 calories per five ounces in the dry wine. Sweet Sauvignon Blanc like Sauternes has around 150 calories per five ounces, although you will typically be satisfied with a much smaller glass.
- Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris has 123 calories in a five ounce glass.
- Riesling varies depending on its sweetness. A dry Riesling has around 123 calories, while a sweet Riesling can have as many as 225 calories in a five ounce serving.
- Sèmillon tends to be a fairly dry wine. It has 122 calories in a five ounce serving.
- White Zinfandel is a very light, low sugar, low alcohol wine. It has around 105 calories per five ounce serving.
- Dry Champagne and other sparkling wines have around 95 calories in five ounces, while sweeter Champagnes may be closer to 125 calories per five ounces.
- Port and Port-style wines are both high in sugar and high in alcohol. This makes these wines the highest in calories. A five-ounce glass of Port might have as many as 250 calories depending on the sugar and alcohol content of the wine.
Fitting Wine into a Low-Calorie Diet
If you want to include wine in your low-calorie diet, limit your intake to a small glass a day. This not only minimizes calories, but also alcohol intake, which can contribute to judgment lapses that cause you to take in more calories than you intended. You can also thin wine by creating a wine spritzer that is half wine and half club soda. You do not need to give up wine to lose weight, provided you moderate your intake and follow a sensible diet and exercise plan.