Is Wine Fattening?

Ever wondered if wine was healthy? We have, too, and we've heard every myth in the book! Some of these stories go: drinking red wine can prevent heart attacks; another report says that white wine lowers cholesterol levels more than any other type of alcohol. Wine is a drink that has been around for centuries, and there are many myths about it. It's time to settle the truth once and for all! Let's talk about whether or not wine is fattening and what you should know! 

The Weight of Wine

Let's start with the obvious: whether it's healthy to drink wine depends a lot on how much you're drinking. In the 1990s, many researchers began promoting that red wine was a healthy elixir. The concept was perceived as the "French paradox." The conclusion was that the French consume diets rich in saturated fat, drank lots of wine, and still had more moderate cardiovascular disease rates. 

Researchers have since determined that it is more than vino consumption that sets French people apart. And the red wine notion was replaced by a narrative that proposes drinking a small amount of alcohol is associated with modest health and heart benefits—and what is a “small amount?” No more than one drink a day for women and two for men. 

Additionally, we have learned that it also depends on the kind of alcohol or wine you drink. Yes, wine is healthier than beer, which is carb-heavy. And red wine is more advantageous than white wine or sparkling wine. That said, not all red wines are formulated equal. Different cultivators of grapes include various nutrients, and wines are created and produced in various methods. This, therefore, leads to some wines having more sugar than others and others having more moderate sugar content. There are low-calorie wines, and there are higher calorie wines, as well.

And if this all hasn't thrown you enough, things get even more confusing when you remember that wines do not have nutritional labels. Therefore, when you have a bottle of wine, you are generally unsure what its nutritional value is. 

Benefits Of Wine

As noted, wine is associated with modest health benefits dependent on type. Red wine does have a few more health benefits than white wine. This is because when white wine is formulated, grapes are pressed, and seeds, skins, and stems are removed before fermentation. With red wine, the red grapes are transferred to vats directly, and they ferment with their seeds, skins, and stems. The grape skin not only supplies the wine its color, but it is why red wine has several more healthy compounds than white wine

Grape skin includes beneficial antioxidants that are recognized for promoting good health. In particular, polyphenol resveratrol is the main reason red wine gets its name with health benefits. Research proposes that resveratrol can reduce harmful cholesterol levels, prevent damage to blood vessels, and lower blood clots' risk. 

Although red wine does have the upper hand when it comes to health benefits, white wine does have health benefits. White wine contains antioxidant properties that may promote cancer prevention, and some research indicates that it can also protect the heart from aging. 

Red Vs White (Any Difference?

By The Glass

Here is a breakdown of popular white wine types and their calorie content: 

Chardonnay: Bold, dry, and the most popular dry wine since the 1990s, a five-ounce serving of Chardonnay is 123 calories. 

Sauvignon Blanc: A dry, light-bodied, herbaceous wine with herbal aromas like grass and bell pepper, Sauvignon Blanc has 122 calories per five ounces glass.  

Semillon: Like Chardonnay, this wine is bold and dry, and you can expect around 122 calories in a serving size. 

Moscato: Moscato is light, sweet, and very aromatic. With few residual sugars, it typically has around 127 calories in five ounces of wine

Pinot Grigio: Light-bodied Pinot Grigio clocks in at 120 calories per five-ounce serving. 

Gewürztraminer: Full-bodied with low acidity and just a touch of residual sugar, Gewürztraminer has about 118 in a five-ounce serving. 

Riesling: Riesling, which is lightly sweet and very aromatic, has around 120 calories in a five-ounce pour

Here is a breakdown of popular red wine types and the calorie content in a glass of wine

Merlot: With notes of vanilla, clove, and cedar, Merlot has 122 calories per five-ounce pour

Cabernet Sauvignon: A wine that smells like tobacco and leather, Cabernet Sauvignon has 120 calories in a five-ounce glass. 

Syrah: An elegant and savory drink but oddly similar to bacon, Syrah has 124 calories in a five-ounce serving. 

Pinot Noir: A dry red with complex flavors ranging from raspberry, cherry, and mushroom, Pinot Noir has 120 calories in a five-ounce drink. 

Zinfandel: A medium-full bodied, fruit-forward red, Zinfandel has 130 calories in a five-ounce serving.

Malbec: A full-bodied wine rich with dark fruit flavors, Malbec has 118 calories in a five-ounce drink. 

Tempranillo: A flavorful red with deep, dark fruit notes often characterize it, Tempranillo has 113 calories in a five-ounce drink. 

Alcohol And Weight Gain

We get it: knowing that wines have different calorie content doesn't exactly help you know whether you're allowed or should drink wine while on a diet. But here's the thing, you're empowered to do whatever you want. It's your world; wine is just one drink that you can drink. Shots of hard liquor or vodka and gin with a grape juice mixer may be better suited to your calorie intake needs than sweet wines or sodas, or maybe a dry white wine with dinner will motivate you to make healthier choices throughout the week.

Second, whether or not you should drink wine on a diet can also depend on what diet you're doing and if it's for weight loss. If you've cut all carbohydrates and sugar, we're going to assume that alcoholic drinks are not on your program of okay foods. But there are millions of diets out there, so make sure you understand what is and isn't permitted on whatever diet plan you are heeding if you're watching your waistline. Whether you're looking for a wine with fewer calories or less sugar, there's something out there for everyone. What's most important on your body confidence journey is self-love and giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function healthily.

By looking at the health guidelines we outlined above, you can see that wine doesn't have that much sugar or calories, regardless of whether it's white or red wine. But, the kicker is, that after a few glasses, wine calories and sugar begin adding up. Our takeaway? Remember with wine and alcohol in general: moderate drinking is key. Moderation is essential in pretty much everything we do. 

The Verdict

To be healthy or go on a diet, science shows that extreme alcohol intake does slow fat burning and prompt weight gain. Moderate alcohol consumption, like a glass of red wine with dinner or a 5-ounce serving of white wine, won't give you an automatic beer belly. By looking at guidelines like calorie counts, alcohol-by-volume (ABV), and nutrition facts, you can fill your wine glass without fear. Takeaway: if you're worried about losing weight or gaining weight, think moderation.