Wine Tips & Tricks

Calories in Red Wine: Do They Really Matter?

Will red wine make you fat? The answer to this question and why calories in red wine aren’t really the problem. In fact, the only thing you should be worried about is in your head…

Calories in red wine aren’t really a problem

Before you start drinking, let’s acknowledge that red wine has calories, primarily in the form of alcohol:

The yellow box shows the average ABV of most wines. Dry wines are in the left column and sweet wines on the right column (measured at 50 g/L residual sugar–equal to about 2–3 tsp sugar). Keep in mind that some wines have very low alcohol and some are high.


     

The good news is most red wines are low carb…


The bad news is drinking wine tricks your brain into thinking you’re hungry…

No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad—and there’s a reason. A study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat, which is why bacon and scrambled eggs the next morning seem so satisfying. Dr. Edward Miller Wine & Health


Back in the 1960’s there was a popular diet called the “Drinking Man’s Diet.” The idea was that a dieter would replace their sugars and starches for alcohol… It was like Atkins + wine. The diet came to be after observing heavy drinkers losing weight despite drinking thousands of alcohol calories each day!

The “Drinking Man’s Diet.” An all-too-familiar fad diet… this time, from the past.

While it’s true that heavy drinkers’ bodies learn to waste alcohol calories and turn them into heat, all that heat makes the food turn into a host of chemicals that seriously affect vital organs (think cancer, liver problems, etc). The study also showed that if you’re just a moderate drinker or on a low-fat diet, you metabolize all 7 alcohol calories per gram. So poop, no help there.


Tips To Stay Healthy and Drink Red Wine

If you’re trying to stay slim, be sure to monitor your serving size. A proper pour of wine is just 5 oz (not the entire 20 oz glass!)


Your body should only process a limited amount of alcohol per day. And for many (like women and certain genetics), moderate means just 1 glass of wine. The positive out of this is: now you can drink the good stuff and have it all week!

Have a small protein-friendly snack before drinking a glass of wine. This will help you resist the inevitable craving. Nut mix anyone?

Get sweaty and earn your next glass of wine. Sadly, after the excitement from last year’s headlines (“Wine improves gym performance”) there is now a competing study showing opposing results. So you might not want to pour wine into your water bottle… unless you’re having that kind of day.

Do your own math: There are 7.1 calories per gram of pure ethanol Convert grams to ounces by a multiplier of 28.3495 Factor in the density of ethanol at 0.789 g/cm3 Calculation: 7.1 x 28.3495 x 0.789 = 158.81 calories per ounce of pure ethanol

Further Reading

Calories in Wine

I used to drink a half-bottle to a full bottle of wine every night! Despite this delicious habit, I had to cut it down for…

The Reality About Carbs in Wine

Wine is low-carb by nature but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! We asked Dr. Edward Miller about carbs in wine and everything you…

Wine Nutrition Facts (Infographic)

Learn the nutrition facts of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine and sweet wine. The calories can differ from wine to wine depending on one…

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About Madeline Puckette

I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly.

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