What has more calories, wine or beer?

Beer vs. wine image

What has more calories, wine or beer?

If we are lucky, patio season is just around the corner and if you drink alcohol you may be wondering what has more calories, wine or beer? Well, you may be surprised to know that they are both in the same calorie ballpark at about 100-150 calories per drink* (see chart below). But should you care about calories?

Calories can be good to know to make informed choices, not to bow to the spring and summer onslaught of media messages suggesting we need to look fit and trim to be happy. Whatever!

We all know happiness is about more than a number on a scale, right?! So I’m offering up some calorie information here to help you make better choices not because six-pack abs will make you happier.

Note: Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, stay within the limits set in Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.(1) The Guidelines also list when not to drink alcohol such as when you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you are operating machinery or making important decisions. If you have questions about alcohol and your health, talk to your medical doctor.

Keep in mind as you review these calorie counts:

  • Calories from beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are “extras” over and above the calories needed to meet your nutrition needs (preferably from cooking and eating at home with a variety of wholesome, minimally processed food).
     
  • Beer and wine may offer taste and enjoyment to eating but no substantial nutritional value. OK, you may have heard there are vitamins and minerals in beer (maybe I should do a post on that?) but we’re talking a smidgen. No dietitian is ever going to suggest getting your vitamins and minerals from beer!
     
  • Beverages don’t require chewing so it’s easy to slug back a lot of calories relatively quickly. For those times when you choose to drink alcohol, aim to eat before and while you drink. Drink slowly and keep track of your beverages to help to curb how much you consume.
     
  • If you drink spirits, remember to factor in the calories from the mixers. Every 100 mL of regular soda, orange juice, cranberry juice or tonic water will add about 40 calories to your drink. Club soda and diet sodas are good calorie-free options.

How many calories are in beer, wine and other drinks?

100-150 Calories

Amount (1 serving)

Calories*

Beer

 

 

Non- alcoholic beer

1 can (350 g)

129

Light beer 4% alcohol

1 bottle (341 mL)

99

Regular beer 5% alcohol

1 bottle (341 mL)

147

Wine

 

 

Red table wine 11.5% alcohol

150 mL

127

White table wine11.5% alcohol

150 mL

123

Dessert wine, sweet 18% alcohol

90 mL

146

Cocktails

 

 

Cocktail: Gin (40% alcohol) and tonic

45 ml gin &100 mL tonic water

146

Cocktail: Whiskey sour

100 mL

157

Cocktail: Margarita

77 g

145

Cocktail: Daiquiri

2 oz (30 mL)

112

150-250 Calories

 

 

Vodka cooler, fruit flavours

358 mL (1 bottle)

212

Wine cooler (alcohol)

355 mL

178

Pina Colada (rum), homemade

4.5 oz

245

*Source for calorie data: Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File, 2016 version.

Note: These serving sizes are considered “a standard drink” according to Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines,1 and may be smaller than the portion you normally serve. For example, you may pour yourself more than 5 ounces of wine or opt for a 16-ounce serving (pint) of beer which is 4 ounces more than “a standard drink” of beer.

8 Clever Calorie Cutting Tips

For times when you choose to drink alcohol, stay within the limits set by Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines,1 and try these calorie-cutting tips:

  1. Go light! Choose a light beer over a regular beer to shave off 50 calories per 341 ml bottle.
  2. Make a refreshing shandy. Mix beer with diet ginger ale or sugar-free lemonade.
  3. Use calorie-free mixers. Why drink away 140 calories in a can of regular soda when you can go calorie-free? Use diet soda or diet tonic water.
  4. Choose real fruit over syrups. Frozen fruity mixes will pack more calories into your summer cocktail than real fresh fruit.
  5. Quench thirst with water first. If you are really thirsty, water is your best choice.
  6. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages. Choose calorie-free or low-calorie, non-alcoholic beverages.
  7. Be mindful of when and how much alcohol you drink. You might choose to drink alcohol at some social events and not others.

Bottom line

If you are committed to a healthy lifestyle and choose to drink alcohol, make healthy food and beverage choices most of the time and stay within the limits set by Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.1

It’s all about balance, my friends.

References

  1. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, 2012. Available at: www.ccsa.ca/Eng/topics/alcohol/drinking-guidelines/Pages/ default.aspx. Accessed February 20, 2017.