Sure… you’re a pro at checking labels at the grocery store, but when you hit the liquor store for a bottle of wine, nutrition facts are practically non-existent. Luckily, armed with some basic knowledge, you can easily figure out which wines are the best buys for your bikini body as well as your palette. I found the best tips for finding great-tasting wines that won’t derail your diet.
Check the ABV
While there are no actual nutrition labels on bottles of wine, there is one indicator you can use to approximate calories: the Alcohol by Volume (ABV) percentage. ABVs can range from 9 percent for low-alcohol wines up to 17 percent for some dry wines. You’ll want to aim for an ABV that’s between 9 to 12 percent, which equals 110 to 140 calories per six-ounce pour. The amount of alcohol in wine has more influence on calorie count than carbs, since alcohol has seven calories per gram, while carbs (i.e. sugars) have four. So a lower-alcohol wine has fewer calories than higher-alcohol wines, independent of the amount of sugar.
A super smart tip to keep in mind is to look for European wines from regions like Italy, France, and Germany. These countries tend to have stricter laws and regulations on alcohol content in wines than America, so European wines tend to be lower in alcohol and, hence, calories. Also try to avoid wines grown in warmer regions like Chile or Australia, where higher sugar content in grapes converts to higher ABV in wines. Which is so weird to think about but totally makes sense!
Stick with White
In general, white wines tend to be lower in alcohol and calories than reds. While light whites have around 140 calories or less per six-ounce glass, a light red has between 135 to 165 calories, while a higher-alcohol red like Pinot Noir or Syrah can have up to 200 in a glass. Light white varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Vinho Verde have fewer calories than whites with higher ABVs like Moscato, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Avoid added sugar in Champagne
Light and effervescent, a glass of bubbly seems like the perfect celebratory drink. But be sure to check the label for a “Brut Nature” or “Brut Zero” designation, which signifies that hardly any extra sugar has been added. While all sparkling wines have a certain amount of sugar, which is necessary for the fermentation process that creates the bubbles, I’d suggest sticking to Brut Nature varieties of Champagne, Cava (the Spanish version of champagne), and sparking wine from the U.S. These regions have stricter rules about added sugar than Italy, where Prosecco is produced. One five-ounce glass of Brut Nature Champagne has around 120 calories, compared to around 175 for a sweet (aka “Doux”) Champagne.
I can’t wait for Thanksgiving! We should all be grateful we have food to eat, and bodies to be nourished – and heck! Be grateful you have dishes to wash too! That must mean you had an amazing meal to eat. Don’t count your calories for the holidays, just enjoy them!