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Wine Scene: Is wine on my diet?

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Exercising and sticking to a healthy diet were the most common 2021 New Year’s resolutions in the United States this year, according to YouGov.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they made a New Year’s resolution. Of those, 46% said exercising more was their goal, 45% identified improving their diet as important and 44% want to lose weight.

So how does wine drinking impact these resolutions, particularly if you are part of the 44% who want to lose weight this year? After all, wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world and a staple drink in some cultures.

Most dry table wines that range between 11% and 14% alcohol by volume contain approximately 120 to 130 calories per 5-ounce pour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of the primary sources of these calories is alcohol, which contains seven calories per gram. A glass of red table wine at 15% alcohol by volume will likely contain a few more calories than a glass of white wine at 11% alcohol by volume.

Carbohydrates also contribute to the calorie count, bringing four calories per gram. A typical dry wine may have four grams of carbs per pour, whereas the same serving of a sweet dessert wine can deliver 20 grams of carbs in a 5-ounce serving. Consider the type of wine you are drinking. Dry wines have less sugar, which means fewer calories than sweet wines, while sparkling wines are the lowest in calories.

The calorie count in a glass of wine may not seem like much, but a couple of glasses can add up to nearly 300 calories, and a bottle can push toward 600 total calories.

Recognizing that all alcoholic beverages contain carbohydrates and sugars, how does your glass of wine compare to many other popular alcoholic beverage choices? According to the health-information website Healthline, one 12-ounce serving of a light beer has around 100 calories, while the same amount of regular beer has close to 150 calories. If you enjoy heavy beer, the calorie count is even higher. In comparison, a 1.5-ounce shot of bourbon has 105 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And if you like mixed drinks, those calories jump up quickly. Mixers like juices and sodas significantly increase the calorie and carb contents of distilled spirits. A 2.5-ounce margarita packs 170 calories onto your daily intake. And who can drink just 2.5 ounces of a margarita?

Although you may not find calorie content on the back of your wine bottle, look for lower alcohol numbers and stick to a dry wine versus a sweet wine.

When compared side by side, wine has slightly more calories than light beer and most liquors, but fewer than regular and heavy beers. And if you like those mixers, be aware of how many calories are tacked on to your drink.

Whether or not you chose to embark on 2021 with a new life strategy, being aware of how many calories are in your glass is important.

If you want to kick back with a relaxing beverage at the end of the day, wine is a good option if you are counting your calories. Just be aware of how much of any beverage you are putting in your glass, and how many times you refill it.

• Barbara Glover is executive director of Wine Yakima Valley, an industry group representing member wineries. She writes this biweekly column for SCENE.

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