Can you lose weight drinking white wine?

Quick Answer

It is possible to lose weight while drinking white wine in moderation, as part of a reduced-calorie diet. White wine has fewer calories than red wine, about 120 calories per 5oz glass. As long as the calories from white wine are accounted for in your daily caloric intake, it can be part of a weight loss diet. However, excessive or frequent consumption of white wine is counterproductive for weight loss.

Calorie Content of White Wine

White wine has a lower calorie content compared to red wine or sparkling wines like champagne. Here is the calorie count for 5oz (148ml) of some common white wines:

  • Pinot Grigio – 122 calories
  • Chardonnay – 123 calories
  • Sauvignon Blanc – 118 calories
  • Riesling – 118 calories
  • Moscato – 136 calories

As you can see, most dry white wines contain about 120 calories per serving. Sweet white wines like Moscato tend to be slightly higher at 130-140 calories.

For comparison, 5oz of red wine has about 125 calories while the same amount of sweet champagne has about 130 calories. So in terms of calorie density, most types of white wine are very similar to other wines.

White Wine Nutrition Facts

The calories in white wine come largely from the alcohol content. There are minimal nutrients in white wine beyond calories:

  • Protein: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8g
  • Sugar: 0.9g
  • Fat: 0g

The main concern with white wine and weight gain is the alcohol content. Most wines contain around 11-13% alcohol by volume. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, which is almost as calorie-dense as fat (9 calories per gram). This explains why the calories in wine mostly come from the alcohol itself.

The small amounts of carbohydrates and residual sugar in white wine also contribute slightly to the calorie count. However, white wine does not contain any fat, protein or other macronutrients.

How White Wine Can Lead to Weight Gain

While an occasional glass of white wine can fit into a weight loss diet, regularly drinking multiple glasses of wine can lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain over time. Here are some of the factors that contribute to weight gain with white wine consumption:

  • High-calorie density of alcohol
  • Low satiety despite calorie intake
  • Increased appetite and cravings
  • Impaired judgment leading to poor food choices
  • Slowed metabolism from alcohol consumption
  • Lack of nutrients compared to solid foods
  • Oxidative stress and inflammation from alcohol

Alcohol from white wine packs a high number of calories with little nutritional benefit. Unlike protein, carbs or fat, alcohol does not increase satiety or fullness. This makes it easy to overconsume extra calories from wine that you don’t account for.

Alcohol also stimulates appetite and cravings for salty or fatty foods. So drinking wine can lead to more snacking or overeating at meals, even if you feel full. Furthermore, alcohol impairs judgment and lowers inhibitions, making you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods.

Over time, heavy white wine consumption can take a toll on your metabolism and weight loss efforts. Alcohol puts stress on the liver, causing cellular damage and inflammation. This makes it harder to maintain or lose weight.

Tips for Drinking White Wine on a Diet

If you want to enjoy an occasional glass of white wine while maintaining your weight loss diet, here are some tips:

  • Stick to one 5oz glass per day max
  • Alternate alcohol-free days to give liver a break
  • Avoid wine before meals – it can increase appetite
  • Drink very slowly to avoid overconsumption
  • Avoid heavy, sweet white wines like Moscato
  • Drink water before and after wine to stay hydrated
  • Avoid sugary wine cocktail mixes
  • Stay away from wine if you lack self-control around food
  • Account for the calories by reducing intake elsewhere in your daily diet

One glass of dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc has about 120 calories. This can fit into a daily calorie allotment for weight loss of 1200-1500 calories. Just be mindful of limiting it to 5oz serving and avoiding overindulgence. Consider skipping wine on some days or weeks if weight loss stalls.

Healthier Alcoholic Drink Options

If you find white wine or alcohol triggers overeating or cravings, you may want to consider lower-calorie alcoholic beverages. Here are some options with 100 calories or less per serving:

  • Light beer – 100 calories for 12oz
  • Vodka, gin, rum, tequila – 96 calories per 1.5oz shot
  • Wine spritzer – 60-100 calories for 4oz wine mixed with seltzer
  • Champagne spritzer – <100 calories for 3oz champagne with seltzer

Going for liquor mixed with a zero-calorie mixer like seltzer or club soda can allow you to control calories better. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water is another good strategy. Avoid sugary mixers like juice, soda or tonic water that add extra, empty calories.

Non-Alcoholic or Low-Alcohol Wine Alternatives

If you want to enjoy the taste of white wine without all the alcohol, consider these options:

  • Dealcoholized wine – Calories vary, around 65 per 5oz
  • Low-alcohol wine – 5-7% ABV instead of 13-15%
  • Nonalcoholic wine – 0.0% ABV
  • Sparkling juice – 60 calories per glass
  • Flavored seltzer – 0 calories
  • Grape juice with seltzer – 50 calories per glass

Dealcoholized and low-alcohol wines allow you to get the flavor without all the calories and impairment. Nonalcoholic wines use special methods to remove alcohol content while maintaining flavor.

Flavored seltzer, sparkling juices, and grape juice spritzers can mimic the carbonation and fruity taste of white wine for zero or minimal calories. Getting creative with combinations and garnishes makes these options exciting.

Health Risks of Heavy White Wine Consumption

While an occasional glass of white wine can be fine for some people, drinking multiple glasses daily or frequently throughout the week is associated with negative effects:

  • Weight gain – excess calories lead to fat gain
  • Obesity – 2x risk for heavy drinkers
  • Liver damage – cirrhosis, fatty liver disease
  • Digestive issues – inflammation, gastric ulcers
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes – impaired glucose metabolism
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers – mouth, throat, breast, colon
  • Depression and anxiety disorders

Heavy white wine consumption contributes empty calories devoid of nutrition. Over time, this can result in weight gain and associated problems like diabetes and heart disease.

The alcohol itself also damages organs like the liver, stomach, and brain. Excessive drinking impairs cognition and mental health. The antioxidants in wine do not outweigh these negative effects.

Moderation is key – up to one drink daily for women and two for men is considered an upper safe limit. Shifting attitudes to view wine as an occasional treat rather than a daily habit supports healthy drinking patterns.

Positive Effects of Occasional White Wine

While excessive wine consumption clearly has risks, occasional, moderate wine intake may have some benefits:

  • Resveratrol antioxidants – helps reduce inflammation
  • Social enjoyment – enhances mood and reduces stress when savored slowly
  • Heart health – raises good HDL cholesterol and prevents blood clots
  • Lower diabetes risk – improves insulin sensitivity when consumed with meals
  • Anti-aging – activates sirtuin proteins linked to longevity
  • Cognitive function – May protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s when consumed in moderation

The key is focusing on moderate, mindful wine consumption rather than drinking excessively. Sipping wine slowly allows you to enjoy the taste and experience without overindulging in calories or getting impaired.

Approaching wine from the perspective of enhancing social experiences, quality of life, and wellbeing – rather than as an everyday habit or coping mechanism – allows you to maximize benefits while minimizing drawbacks.

White Wine for Weight Loss: The Bottom Line

Here is a summary of key points on whether white wine supports weight loss:

  • White wine contains 120 calories per 5oz glass on average
  • The calories come mostly from alcohol, with little nutritional value
  • Drinking wine before meals can increase appetite and calorie intake
  • Excess wine contributes empty calories and impairs judgment around food
  • Heavy drinking sabotages weight control and poses many health risks
  • Occasional, moderate wine intake can fit into a weight loss diet
  • Alternate alcohol-free days and avoid sugary mixer drinks for best results
  • Focus on mindful, slow sipping rather than drinking for intoxication

While no alcoholic beverage is truly waistline-friendly, white wine is a relatively lower-calorie option. With mindful consumption habits, pre-meal avoidance, and accounting for calories, occasional white wine can be part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

However, relying on white wine as an everyday stress reliever or using it mindlessly in excess is counterproductive for weight management and wellbeing. Moderation and mindfulness with wine intake supports health.


White wine can be enjoyed sensibly on occasion by people trying to lose or maintain weight. With proper portion sizes of 5oz per day, accounting for calories by making adjustments to your diet, and avoiding excessive intake, a glass of white wine should not hinder weight loss.

However, white wine is easy to overconsume – especially when drinking mindlessly or frequently throughout the week. Excess intake leads to extra calories without nutritional benefit, increased cravings and appetite, and impaired judgment around food decisions.

People who struggle to moderate their white wine consumption are better off avoiding it during active weight loss phases. Alternatives like dealcoholized wine, low-alcohol wine, or sparkling water with fruit can satisfy the desire for a flavorful beverage with less impact on your waistline.

Overall, white wine should be approached as an occasional treat to enhance social experiences and quality of life – not as an everyday habit. With many delicious nonalcoholic or low-calorie alternatives available, you don’t have to rely on white wine for enjoyment. But an occasional celebratory glass of Pinot Grigio or crisp Sauvignon Blanc won’t make or break your diet.

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