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Wine and Calories – Everything That You Need to Know

If you’re an Italian wine lover who’s watching their figure, there’s probably one question on your mind.

Can I drink wine without gaining weight?

The simple answer is yes, of course. You can drink or eat anything as long as you make it part of a balanced diet or your exercise enough to burn off the calories that you consume. But that’s probably not the answer that you’re looking for. Instead, you probably want to know about the amount of calories in a glass, or bottle, of wine so that you can make dietary decisions that will help you to achieve your long-term goals.

This article is going to approach the issue from two angles. Firstly, we’re going to look at how calories and wine are linked so that you know what to look out for when you’re watching what you eat. Secondly, we’ll round the article off with a look at some tips to help you incorporate wine into a healthy diet.

The Wine And Calorie Facts

Before looking at the diet part, let’s look at some of the facts about calories in wine.

Fact #1 – Wines With Higher Alcohol Contents Contain More Calories

This is an unfortunate fact to accept if you’re a lover of wines that have high alcohol volumes. Unfortunately, it’s also completely true. A wine with a high alcohol content contains more calories than one with a low content.

It all comes down to the calorie count of ethanol, which is the technical name for alcohol. A single gram of ethanol contains seven calories.

So, how does that work out when you look at wine by the glass?

A small glass of wine with a 12% volume contains about 14 grams of ethanol. That makes 98 calories for a small glass of wine. Of course, drinking a larger glass means you’re drinking more grams of ethanol. This raises the calorie count. Moreover, drinking a stronger wine also means that you’re drinking more ethanol.

Of course, there’s the flipside to this too. Wines with low alcohol volumes also have lower calorie counts. This means you can drink such wines a little more freely.

Still, it’s worth noting that a couple of regular glasses of wine could amount to about 250 calories when you only consider ethanol. That’s not an insignificant amount of calories when combined with the other foods and drinks that you consume during the day.

Fact #2 – Residual Sugars Add to This Calorie Count

Unfortunately, ethanol isn’t the only thing that adds calories to your glass of wine. You also have to think about the residual sugars that are in the wine. The more sugar that a wine contains, the heavier its calorie count will be.

Again, sugar isn’t something that you can avoid with a glass of wine. After all, wine is made using grapes, which have their own natural sugars. Moreover, the sugars play a large role in determining the overall flavour of the wine.

A gram of sugar contains about four calories. And you’re going to have to add that onto the calorie count that you get from the ethanol.

Thankfully, most dry wines contain very little sugar. Some contain as little as a gram, which means that you’re only adding four calories to the 125 or so that comes from the ethanol.

But it’s when you venture towards the sweeter wines that you start to run into some issues. Some wines contain as many as 150g per litre, with others managing to reach the 300g mark. That’s a huge amount of sugar to add to your average glass.

A small glass of wine could contain between 15g and 30g of residual sugar in such cases. That’s between 60 and 120 calories to add onto whatever comes from the ethanol content.

All of this leads us to a useful group of generalisations that you can use to determine the alcohol content of your wine. They go as follows:

  • A glass of dry wine with a low alcohol content will contain about 130 calories
  • A glass of dry wine that has a high alcohol content will contain about 170 calories.
  • A glass of sweet wine that has a low alcohol content will contain about 200 calories.
  • Fortified wines, and other sweet wines with high alcohol contents, may contain up to 300 calories per glass.

Sparkling wines are a little different, as many limit their alcohol content. You can safely assume that these wines contain about 150 calories per glass.

The Tips

So, now you know that numbers. But what about the tips to help you to drink wine while watching your calories intake?

Here are a few to get you started.

  • If you know that you’re going to drink a few glasses of wine, try to make it as dry and light in alcohol content as possible. This combination means less ethanol and less sugar, which translates to fewer categories.
  • The sweeter the wine, the higher its calorie count. Moderate your intake and be very wary of what you eat on the same day as drinking a sweeter wine.
  • Try a little exercise. A brief jog or a decent walk will burn off the calories that a glass of wine may contain. If you want to enjoy some wine while on a diet, justify it by exercising a little first. Of course, we don’t recommend exercising when you’ve already had a drink. That could lead to accidents and injuries.
  • Drink your wine with food. This may seem like a strange idea, but hear us out. Alcohol has the ability to increase your appetite when you drink it without food. This can lead to you eating more food than you actually need to. Drinking wine with food means you’re satisfying your appetite as you drink, rather than letting it grow. Of course, you also have to keep track of the calories in your food.

The Final Word

And that covers pretty much everything that you need to know about calories in wine. With this information to hand, you should feel more confident about adding wine to your diet.

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