Are Red Wine Calories Adding To Your  Waistline?

A close look at red wine calories reveals a surprising statistic...


Yup, nothing. Drinking dry red wine does not adversely affect body weight or promote obesity.

And the studies prove it.

I'm talking dry wine here though. Any wine with residual sugar or added sugar can make you gain weight depending on the amount in it.

And the real kicker? As long as you drink in moderation, the alcohol can be healthy for you! For your heart and for your waistline.

Infographic of a skinny lady enjoying wine at a small round table.

The studies I'm talking about were done on thousands of real live people (listed below). Not mice. 


Why does this page differ so much from my calories in wine page?

It's because of the studies...

I'm kind of torn between the two conclusions of whether wine and the alcohol in it:

  • makes you gain weight
  • or not

And is alcohol really the monster that the "mainstream" claim it is?

There's been a crazy amount of studies done by scientists, doctors and research specialists showing that alcohol doesn't make you gain weight. And I want to believe them.

But then, I change my mind and become skeptical again. This just goes on and on the more research that I do. So I decided to build two separate pages.

One about red wine calories, and the other about the total calories in wine - and let you decide.

Maybe I'll come to a final conclusion myself, and stick with it. 

How Many Calories are in a 250ml Glass of Red Wine?

Well for one thing, that's about 8.5 ounces of wine. Waaay above the standard 5 ounce serving.

If you stop pouring when the wine reaches the top of "the bell" of the glass. That should be around 5 ounces. I make the assumption that you are using an average sized wine glass of 12-14 ounces (355-414 ml).

If there's no residual sugar in your wine, that leaves only empty alcohol calories. It's termed "empty" because there are no nutrients in alcohol that your body can use for nourishment.

I call it empty because there are no red wine calories in it to make you fat.

There are zero calories in a 250 ml glass of a very dry red wine. Zippo.

Remember that alcohol calories are not even remotely the same as food calories. Here's a great read on the alcohol calorie conundrum.

I get a kick out of images comparing a slice of pizza or a chocolate bar, to a glass of red wine!

Image of chalkboard showing zero red wine calories versus crazy amount of calories in junk food.Bet you didn't learn that in school!

Alcohol is a toxin. A poison.

Your body doesn't metabolize it. It processes it, mostly in the liver and kidneys.

How can you make a fair comparison of calories between food, and a poison?

Your body shuts down any other metabolization of food or drink that it was doing until it's at least partly finished with the alcohol.

The "science" out there says that it takes about 10 hours after you're done drinking, to restart your metabolization of the food you ate prior to drinking. Hmmnn...

That's way too long. I'd be 800 lbs if that was the case.

Besides, I'm still really hungry the next morning for breakfast as usual. And I rarely sleep longer than 7 hours. I think there's a lot of work to do yet, to fully understand alcohol in the human body.

Here's a Good One for You:

If alcohol is so fattening as stated everywhere...

--almost twice as fattening than sugar--

Why are most alcoholics so darn slim?

Since alcohol adds 7 grams of calories/liter, while sugar only adds 4 calories/liter. Shouldn't they be ridiculously overweight? 

It's well documented that those who drink more often, are slimmer. That by itself should be the first clue.


I mentioned alcoholics. This is the risk associated with drinking that we all share. In no way shape or form do I condone drinking wine or other alcohol more often because it doesn't make you gain weight.

We have alcoholics in our family, and I see how their health has been declining over the years. So sad. Always be on your guard against overdrinking.

Why Are You Counting Red Wine Calories Anyway?

Okay, well I know why...

But you can get better results, by tweaking your lifestyle.

Do you really want to change? Really, really want to be slimmer?

Then no more:

  • weight-gain books 
  • xyz diet plans
  • calorie counting
  • funky exercise equipment...

Infographic showing a silhouette of a head sliced into 5 sections of calorie reducing strategies.

The answer is right in front of you. Look straight into a mirror at your forehead, and confirm that a mind lies behind it. 

That's what needs to change!


  1. eat less at each meal 
  2. don't snack between meals or while drinking wine
  3. read labels for sugar and don't choose sugary foods
  4. get at least 40 minutes aerobics (brisk walk) per day

1. Eat Less at Each Meal

Image showing a small portion size for dinner.

Portion size is way too big for most of us these days.

I struggle with this one daily because I just love so many kinds of food. It can be an addiction.


Cut your portion size down by using a smaller plate. Give your body time to tell you that you've eaten enough. 

I eat too fast, and you probably do too. Slow down by enjoying a glass of wine and engaging in more conversation at the table.

Don't worry about red wine calories. Or how fattening white wine might be. They aren't where the problem lies.

2. Don't Snack Between Meals

Image showing wine, crackers and cheese.

Snacking kills.

You need to overcome this by taking your mind off of the snacks. Drink lots of water between meals. Have you explored the many different types of teas there are now?

If you're enjoying a mid-day glass of wine, and you're concerned about the red wine calories - be aware that the alcohol will loosen your resolve to stand firm and make you want to snack! That's a biggie.

A lot of the mainstream research on alcohol doesn't take this into consideration. Preferring instead, to point to alcohol calories as the reason why people gain weight when drinking.

3. Read labels for Sugar

Image showing a nutrition label emphasizing sugar.

Are you looking for the amount of calories in red wine? But ignoring the fact that your highly-publicized, so-called "healthy" yogurt cup, is absolutely jacked with sugar?

And that your "healthy" whole wheat bread has more sugar than white bread. Oh, and those granola bars - yup, crazy sugar too. Don't get me started on juices, or even milk!

Your body doesn't care whether the sugar comes from a natural source or not. Sugar is sugar.

And it's addictive. 

The entire food industry is well aware of it. It's one reason for the obesity epidemic here in North America.

Eat a more bland diet, or use spices and herbs more creatively.

4. Do at Least 40 Minutes of Aerobics Per Day!

Image showing legs with running shoes.

We're built to move.

But if you're going to do exercise daily, you should do something that you can take into your older years.

For me and many others, it's brisk walking.

This really works to get your heart working and burn off calories. And if you follow the first three points above - there won't be too much to burn off.

If you still feel that you need to "buy something" or "start a different plan", so it seems like you're doing something meaningful...


Be smart. Tweak your life - not your wallet!

Can Red Wine Make You Gain Weight?


Here's a page from U.S. National Library of Medicine that proves alcohol doesn't make you fat. It's pretty wordy, but you can just scroll down to the second page "conclusion".

There's only one component in wine that has calories. Sugar. As long as your red wine has less than 2 g/l residual sugar, the wine (and the alcohol in it) won't make you gain weight.

Not only that, but the health benefits of wine are just so diverse and numerous. 


I can guarantee that if you overeat and snack while drinking, you will most definitely gain weight. These are not red wine calories. 

They're the "real" alcohol calories.

Do Sweeter Red and White Wines Have More Calories?


There's a few ways that sugar winds up in the wine:

  • stopping fermentation early and leaving some of the residual sugar in the wine
  • fermenting to dryness, then backsweetening to the desired level
  • unfermentable sugars like Pentose

Infographic showing a calorie scale with sweet wines heavier than dry wines.

Use the sugar calories calculator below to calculate the RS in wine.


Pentose adds very little calories - usually around 1g/l.

Sugar Calories Calculator

Just enter the info from the bottle or retailer's chart and hit calculate. There are alcohol calorie tables and a calculator on my calories in wine page, if you choose to believe there's calories in alcohol.

 Sugar Calories Calculator 
X 1.14: 

What's a safe amount of sugar?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than:

  • for women - 100 sugar calories/day which equals 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of added sugar 
  • for men     - 150 sugar calories/day which equals 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar

So for sweet wines like:

  • late harvest
  • icewine
  • port etc

You should use an appropriate glass so that your serving size is much smaller. In general, a 2-ounce pour would be a single serving.

Proof is in the Study!

If all of the hype is true that red wine calories come specifically from the alcohol and the sugar, it should be straightforward to conduct a proper study. 

Have you read this book - "The Good News About Booze" ? 

It completely dismantles the current thinking on alcohol in a "fully referenced, high quality research" format. Many professors chime in on it's professional, well-balanced conclusions. The author (Tony Edwards), has a good sense of humor too!

Within it?

-6-year study of 43,500 people by the University of Denmark

-8-year study of 49,300 people by the University College Medical School, London

-10-year study of 7,230 people by the U.S. National Center for Disease Control

These are just a few of the many studies done on alcohol (including wine) and weight gain. I'm sure many of the researchers were surprised by the results, judging by their comments in some of their conclusions:

  • Body fat %
  • Body Mass Index
  • Waist Hip Reduction
  • and Weight Gain all stayed the same or was reduced 

Yup, nothing. Hard to believe isn't it?

We're constantly bombarded by information contrary to this. Maybe it's just easier to regurgitate the same information over and over.

Do red wine calories really exist?

Hopefully, I've planted a little seed of doubt. Either way, you know what to tweak.


› [Red Wine Calories]