Why are wine calories not posted on the back of wine bottles like other foods? I recently switched to a low carb diet for health reasons (not just because I drank too much wine, although that may have contributed!). Since being on the diet, I’ve become more and more conscious of what I intake. Wine is unfortunately, one of the things that is discouraged on a low carb diet. It’s no surprise to anyone that alcohol must contains calories and carbs since people can gain weight from drinking it (just think of the beer belly), but exactly how many calories and carbs are there in your wines and spirits? What should you drink if you want to be are watching your calorie intake or your carb intake?
The US Department of Agriculture has compiled a not all that user-friendly search engine with wine calories and other nutritional data for various other alcohols. Here are the basics that I gleaned from their data.
- There is no noticeable wine calorie difference between red and white wine. A glass of around 5oz (see picture for how much that is) is around 125 calories and contains around 3-4g of carbs. This is probably the amount you’ll get at a restaurant (unless they’re super generous with their pour). Another way to visualize this is that you can pour 5 glasses of this portion size from a standard bottle of wine (75cl or 750ml).
- The lower the alcohol content of the wine, the fewer the wine calories.
- Champagne and other sparkling wines like brut or prosecco have around 98 calories and 1.5g of carbs for a 5oz serving, which makes this the best wines to drink if you’re watching calories or carbs!
- Obviously, dessert wines have way more wine calories and carbs. For example, a late harvest Riesling will have around 175 calories and 20g of carbs for a 5oz serving. Similarly, something like port will have more calories and carbs than a glass of wine.
- Let’s compare the wines to beer: There’s usually around 12oz for a bottle of beer. In a bottle of Bud Light, there’s 110 calories and 6.58g of carbs. For a regular Bud, there’s 146 calories and 10.6g of carbs.
- And compared with some hard liquor: For a shot of gin, rum, whiskey or vodka (1.5oz, 80 proof or 40% alcohol), there’s 97 calories and 0 carbs. For a shot of sake (1.5oz, around 30 proof or 15% alcohol), there is 59 calories and around 2g of carbs.
- And for a pina colada: just drink it, coz you don’t really want to know its nutritional values!
Conclusion? Drink champagne (or one of its cheaper cousins like brut of prosecco) if you want fewer wine calories and carbs. If you’re out for some serious drinking, just down shots of any hard liquor!