Red wine is the alcoholic beverage of choice for many people, most likely because of its potential health benefits and fragrant fine taste.
A fermented red grape drink is full of antioxidants, but it can also be loaded with calories and sugar.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering if red wine can help or hinder you.
This article discusses the nutrient content of red wine, what the evidence says about red wine and weight control, and how you can consume red wine while losing weight.
Calories and composition of red wine
One 150 ml glass of red wine contains: ( 1 )
- Calories: 125
- Proteins: 0 grams
- Fats: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- sugar: 1 gram
- Alcohol: 16 grams
Most of the calories in red wine come from alcohol, which provides seven calories per gram, with the rest coming from carbohydrates. ( 2 )
Remember that there are many different types of red wine, all with different alcohol and sugar content, which will affect their total calories. Additionally, there will be some differences between brands even though they are from the same grape variety.
Red wine and body weight
Several studies have evaluated the relationship between alcoholic beverages and weight.
When it comes to weight control, drinking red wine seems to have both pros and cons.
Red wine is rich in resveratrol and other antioxidants that can help control blood sugar, heart health and inflammation. In addition, moderate consumption of wine can help prevent obesity. (2) (3)
Red wine and other foods rich in flavonoids, such as olive oil, nuts, fruits and legumes, are considered staples of the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with good weight control. (4) (5)
Unfortunately, the evidence on the effects of red wine itself is quite mixed. Some animal studies have shown that red wine consumption reduces body weight and body fat levels, while others have found the opposite. (6) (7) (8)
Additionally, a study in 29 obese people found that the antioxidants in red wine had no effect on blood sugar control. (9)
However, other human studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption can help improve blood sugar control, which can make weight control easier. (10) (11)
More research is needed before we fully understand the effects of red wine on weight control.
Many studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with weight gain – especially in men. (12) (13)
Alcohol contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein, and many alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and mixed drinks can also contain sugar.
Because of this, drinking alcohol can cause you to consume more calories than you intend. (14) (15)
In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to insulin resistance and problems with blood sugar control, which can be a precursor to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. (16)
Note that 150ml of wine is considered 1 serving and moderate drinking is defined as no more than 2 servings of alcohol per day for men and 1 serving of alcohol per day for women.
How to enjoy red wine while losing weight
Fortunately, you don’t have to completely avoid drinking red wine if you’re trying to lose weight.
Here are some ways you can enjoy red wine without hindering your weight loss efforts:
- Stick to one serving. A portion of wine is defined as 150 ml.
- Track your calorie intake. If you can incorporate a serving of wine into your day and maintain a caloric deficit, then it is possible to continue losing weight.
- Avoid dessert wines. Dessert wines are sweeter and more likely to contain more sugar and calories per serving.
As long as you watch your portion sizes and drink in moderation, wine shouldn’t have much of an effect on your weight.
Also, if you notice that your weight loss is slowing down and nothing has changed other than the amount or frequency of your red wine intake, try cutting back to see if that helps.
Red wine is rich in antioxidants, but it’s also packed with calories from alcohol and carbohydrates.
Too much red wine or any other alcoholic beverage can hinder weight loss and contribute to weight gain. However, red wine in moderation may provide some protective effects against weight gain.
If you want to enjoy red wine while losing weight, stick to one serving, avoid sweet dessert wines and watch your calories.