For those who are looking to watch their figure, navigating the amount of calories that are in an alcoholic drink can be difficult. Many people fail to consider the beverages that they consume when attempting to stick to a balanced diet, which may lead to them failing to shed the pounds they are looking to lose even if they stick solely to foods that they know are low in calories.
There is a lot of information floating around the web relating to the amount of calories that are in various drinks, so here we thought we would compile as much of it as we can so that we can determine the true calorie count that is in the average glass of wine, in addition to comparing it to some other alcoholic beverages to see how it stacks up.
A Glass of Wine
With glasses of wine coming in a variety of different sizes, it is often difficult to determine how many calories are in the glass that you are drinking. One of the best ways to do this is to consider the “units” measurement that is popularly used in the United Kingdom, which will give a precise measurement for the calorie count that is in a single unit of alcohol. You can then consider the size of the portion that you are consuming to create a total calorie count for your glass of wine.
With that in mind, figures indicate that a single unit of alcohol, which contains around 10ml of alcohol, provides around 56 calories. Of course, this relates to a unit of pure alcohol, so you don’t need to go rushing to the scales every time you drink a single glass, as most wines will contain somewhere in the region of 12-16% alcohol.
As such, a good rule of thumb is to consider a large, 250ml glass of wine that is likely the size of the glass that you consume alongside a meal. This will usually contain somewhere in the region of 180 calories, though the number may differ slightly depending on the wine. Conversely, a smaller glass of around 175 ml will contain a little over 160 calories.
To put this back into the unit measurement we considered earlier, that 175ml glass of wine will contain 2.3 units of alcohol. This makes up a little over 110 calories, with the rest coming from the grapes used in production and whatever else is in the wine.
This demonstrates the point of drinking in moderation. If you end up consuming 3 or 4 glasses over the course of the evening, you may end up consuming around 700 calories without even realising it. As such, if you are watching your figure, make an effort to savour your wine a little more, instead of drinking it as quickly as possible.
Now that we know how many calories are in a glass of wine, let’s take a look at one of its most popular counterparts in beer. In many places, beer is generally consumed by the pint and it is often considered more fattening that a glass of wine.
This is borne out by the figures as well, with a single unit of 4% beer containing somewhere in the region of 80 calories, meaning that a full pint is going to be about 180 calories. This is a little more than a large glass of wine, though the difference is actually a little smaller than you may have originally expected.
However, generally speaking, it is healthier to drink wine over beer, particulary because many beers contain more than 4% of alcohol and some are made using different production methods that cause them to be even fattier than a standard pint.
Oddly enough, the relationship between your body and the alcohol that you drink is a little more complex than you may think. After all, your body is actually incapable of storing the alcohol that you consume in the traditional sense, so applying the calorie argument to it may not be the best way to go about it.
Instead, the alcohol will be converted into acetate in your liver, which is then released into the bloodstream. This ends up inhibiting the amount of fat that your body can burn, so alcohol essentially winds up preventing you from burning fat that you have gained from other foods, rather than physically causing you to gain weight on its own.
Still, the effect is much the same. If you drink alcohol to a large extent, your body’s ability to properly process the other foods that you intake is inhibited, which still leads to weight gain. As such, it is easier to consider it within the confines of the calorie system to make everything a little easier.
So What Should I Do?
By no means should you take this as a reason not to drink alcohol if you enjoy it, but it should make you a little bit more aware of the effect that drinking large amounts of alcohol can have on your body. As with every other type of food or consumable in life, moderation is always going to be key. Drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis is going to prevent your body from losing the fat that it already has, which needs to be avoided if you are looking to lose a few pounds. Drinking in moderation will have a far less pronounced effect.
As such, the best advice you can receive it to keep track of your wine intake in the same way that you would your food. Consider drinking smaller glasses of wine alongside meals and try to avoid spending too many nights drinking an entire bottle of wine alongside food. Of course, we are all going to slip up in that regard every now and again, but at least now you are more aware of the relationship that alcohol has with your body and how it can prevent you from losing weight if consumed in large amounts. To reiterate, everything in moderation is always a good idea. This way, you will also spend more time with your wine and can truly savour the work and effort that has gone into its creation.