How to fit red wine calories into your diet - Red wine calories per glass
- 2 Minutes Read
You've probably heard about the health benefits of red wine, but have you wondered how to fit red wine calories into your diet? Can red wine make you gain weight? Not necessarily.
One of the things I love about the official Mediterranean diet pyramid is the little glass of red wine pictured on the side next to the glass of water. Wine in moderation, red wine in particular, is considered an inherent part of the Mediterranean diet. Plenty of research links moderate wine consumption to general health benefits. Whether the wine itself is responsible, or is just a marker for a healthy lifestyle -- such as the Mediterranean one -- is open to debate.
Red wine is known to contain a variety of antioxidants, which may have health benefits. Along with antioxidants, red wine has calories, from alcohol and carbohydrates. If you're tracking calories for weight control you need to account for those in wine. It's all about tuning into the red wine calories per glass.
According to the USDA nutrient database, different varieties of red wine tend to have very similar calorie counts, although not all the calories come from alcohol. A 5 fluid oz glass of red wine has an average of 122 calories and just over 100 of those calories are from alcohol (about 14 grams). The rest of the calories are from carbohydrates. Aside from antioxidants, red wine doesn't have significant amounts of any other nutrients, such as protein, vitamins or minerals.
|Red wine (5 fluid oz glass)||Kcal||Carb grams|
Alcohol is metabolized to acetate which is used as an energy source. The metabolism of fatty acids (from your food or your fat cells) can be reduced if you drink a lot of alcohol. It's a good argument for drinking red wine in moderation.
The metabolism of ethanol diminishes as we age, so tolerance is impaired. Ethanol lingers longer in the blood, affecting cognitive and neuromuscular function. Alcohol is also dehydrating. Again, two more good arguments for moderation.
What exactly does "moderation" mean? As I noted in my book "Food Wisdom for Women", the definition of "moderation" is all over the map. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control stick to the One Drink Per Day definition, which is included in the US Dietary Guidelines. A study of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet concluded that 7 glasses of red wine a week was reasonable. This means one glass/day.
How do we define "drink." For wine, it's typically 5 fluid ounces (just over 1/2 cup), which is about what you would be served in a wine glass at a restaurant. For a standard wine glass, you might expect to get a glass that's just over half-full. But if the glass is the size of a soup bowl, you'll be getting a lot more than 5 fluid ounces, even if it's only half full. And if you're pouring wine at home and you top off the glass, you're pouring more than 5 fluid oz, which means more than the average 122 calories.
Originally published on 13 September 2018,
Updated: 15 November 2019