Counting Calories? Have a Glass (or Two) of Wine

fotolia_123298724_xsThis is the time of the year when most of us start to count calories — and some of us have trouble counting that high!

From tapping (okay, stealing from) the kids’ Halloween candy stash to scarfing down the Thanksgiving feast to munching on too many sugar-coated snowman cookies, 10 months of watching our diet can go down the drain in, basically, three days.

And I’m not even counting the goodies that co-workers bring to the office.

So, if you’re trying to keep things under control this holiday season, you’d probably like to know how many calories are floating around in that glass of wine you’re having with dinner.

Well, every wine is a little bit different, and things have changed a bit since the last time I tackled this topic around a decade ago.

What’s different? Average alcohol and sugar levels have changed in recent years, especially among California wines, so the calorie count in some cases has increased — but only by a little bit.

Interestingly, alcohol has seven calories per gram as compared to four calories per gram for carbohydrates (sugar), which means it’s possible for some dry wines to have more calories than some sweet wines.

That’s an equation that really makes me wish I’d paid more attention in my high school science class…

But on average, a 5-ounce glass of white wine contains 125 calories, while a 5-ounce glass of red wine contains 120 calories.

Off-dry, semi-sweet and dessert-style wines will have a few more, based primarily on their percentage of residual sugar. An off-dry Riesling, for instance, will add 5 to 10 calories to the count.

And let’s not forget sparkling wine, since the toasting season is upon us. A flute of bubbly comes in at about the same calorie count as red wine: 120.

Considering a 1.66-ounce Snickers bar from the kids’ Halloween bag comes in at 229 calories, and a cranberry bliss bar from Starbucks represents 280 calories, a glass of wine makes an excellent waist-management option.

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Posted in Wine and Health, Wine Buzz
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