Does wine really make you gain weight? What the Science Supports

by Natalia Urdiales January 29, 2021

¿El vino engorda?

Does wine really makes you gain weight?

Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world and a staple in some cultures.

Many people ask me in consultation that they want to continue drinking wine occasionally, such as 1 glass after a long day, but are concerned about maintaining a healthy weight.

Can wine really cause weight gain? Attention here, with wine I refer exclusively to drinks obtained from grapes (Vitis vinifera species), through the alcoholic fermentation of their must or juice.

In this article we will analyze the calories we ingest when drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages and how much of their consumption puts at risk maintaining a normal weight.


Calories in Wine

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. Most of the calories in wine come from alcohol and various amounts of carbohydrates.

While wine is not considered particularly high in calories, it is easy to overindulge. Therefore, the calories in wine can be useful to supplement your caloric calculations.

These are the calories in some existing varieties of wine and the calories in a 148 ml serving.

Variety of Wine




Sauvignon blanc


Pinot noir








Of course, the calories in wine vary and the exact number depends on the specific wine, but it's a fairly reliable approximate from the USDA.

Dry wines tend to have less sugar and therefore fewer calories than sweet wines, while sparkling wines are the lowest in calories.

While the calories in a glass of wine don't seem like a lot, a few glasses contain more than 300 calories and a bottle has more than 600 calories. Depending on how much you drink, wine can add a significant amount of additional calories to your daily intake.

In comparison, a 1-beer 355 ml serving of light beer has about 100 calories, while the same amount of regular beer has about 150 calories, and even more if it is a heavy or craft beer. Meanwhile, a 44 ml shot of vodka has 97 calories.

Wine has slightly more calories than regular beer and most spirits, but fewer than regular, heavy ales. Using juices and sodas to mix with alcoholic beverages can significantly increase the calorie and carbohydrate content of a drink.



Alcohol and Weight Gain

Drinking too much wine can cause you to consume more calories than you should, which can promote weight gain.

Also, calories from alcohol are generally considered empty calories, as most alcoholic beverages do not provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.

Still, you may have heard that red wine, in particular, can provide more benefits than other alcohols. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant compound that can fight disease and has been linked to heart benefits when consumed in moderation.

However, drinking too much wine seems to outweigh any possible benefits and contributes to excess calories in the process. Therefore, moderation in its consumption is recommended.

Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain in other ways besides contributing empty calories. When we consume alcohol, the body uses it before carbohydrates or fats for energy. As a result, these nutrients can be stored as fat.

High alcohol consumption is also associated with poor quality of diet. However, it is not clear if this is the result of unhealthy food choices made while intoxicated, or if more frequent drinkers have less healthy diets overall, more research should be done.

Other disadvantages to consider

Consuming too much wine or alcohol can have disadvantages beyond those related to possible weight gain. Although in general, moderate alcohol consumption has not been associated with health risks.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate consumption as up to one drink for women and up to two drinks for men per day.

A drink is defined as 14 grams of alcohol, which is equal to 355 ml of beer, 148 ml of wine, or 44 ml of hard liquor.

On the other hand, binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion on 5 or more days in a month.

Since the liver plays an important role in the processing of alcohol, excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to the accumulation of fat within our liver and can eventually cause chronic liver scarring and damage known as cirrhosis.

Too much alcohol has also been associated with an increased risk of dementia, depression, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.


Vino espumoso, el alcohol más bajo en calorías


In Conclusion

A 148 ml glass of wine provides around 120 calories. Sweet wines tend to have more calories, while sparkling wines tend to have fewer.

Wine provides slightly more calories than most hard liquors and light beers, but generally fewer calories than heavy beers.

While drinking a glass or two of wine on occasion is not likely to lead to weight gain, regular consumption of excessive amounts of wine can contribute to this result and other negative health effects.


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Natalia Urdiales
Natalia Urdiales


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