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How Many Calories are in Wine & Alcohol?

Calories provided from alcohol are considered empty calories due to the lack of beneficial nutrients; total calories per alcoholic beverage vary depending on the type and amount of drink consumed. For most people who consume alcohol, drinking in moderation is encouraged; children, people who can't limit alcohol consumption and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should avoid alcohol entirely.

Calories Per Gram of Alcohol

In addition to eating food, consuming alcoholic beverages can significantly contribute to daily caloric intake. Alcohol in beverages provides 7 calories per gram, according to Medline Plus; as a comparison, dietary fat contributes 9 calories per gram, while dietary carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram.

Drinking in Moderation

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that drinking in moderation means having no more than one drink per day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men. One alcoholic beverage, or drink, is identified as 5 oz. of wine, 12 oz. of regular beer or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits.

Calories Per Drink

One 12-oz. regular beer, 5-oz. glass of wine and 1.5-oz. shot of liquor contain approximately 150 calories, 100 calories and 100 calories, respectively. Light beer typically contains fewer calories than regular beer; hard liquor mixed with a high-calorie or sugary beverage is generally higher in calories than beer or wine.

Calories in Wine

Calories in wine vary depending on the type of wine and serving size. Port and sherry wines are the highest in calories and contain approximately 180 and 150 calories, respectively, per 4-oz. serving. Sweet, red and dry white wines provide approximate 105, 80 and 75 calories, respectively, per 4-oz. serving.

Ways to Reduce Calories

The best way to reduce total daily calories is to avoid alcohol entirely. However, for people who choose to drink, there are ways to reduce calories in alcoholic beverages to help maintain a healthy body weight. By switching from regular to light beer, calories can be reduced by approximately 40 per drink. Choosing dry white wine instead of sweet wine can reduce calories by about 30 per drink. Mixing hard liquor with club soda, diet soda or drinking it on the rocks instead of mixing it with juice, regular soda or lemonade is another way to significantly reduce calories.

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