Vodka and wine are two alcoholic beverages that you might be able to consume without wrecking your diet, as both are fairly low in calories. Remember, though, that moderation is the key, particularly when it comes to alcohol, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns can have harmful effects if consumed heavily.
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The calories in wine can vary depending on type and brand. In general, the USDA reports, red wine has slightly more calories than white: 5 ounces of red wine has 105 calories, compared to 100 calories in 5 ounces of white wine. You will find a few more calories in a sparkling wine or champagne. A dessert wine, like a port, can give you double the calories of a white wine like chardonnay.
When it comes to calories in vodka, the strength makes a difference. The USDA lists a 1 1/5-ounce shot of an 80-proof spirit – which is 40% alcohol by volume – like vodka at 64 calories. The calories go up as the vodka gets stronger. A 100-proof shot of vodka will give you nearly twice as many calories. Adding flavor, however, to the vodka — as many popular brands do — doesn't give it more calories. You can add some zero-calorie seltzer to one of those and make a flavorful, low-calorie drink.
Vodka drinks can vary dramatically in their caloric value. Wine coolers, for example, are a calorie-laden beverage to beware of. The Wine Intro website pegs an average wine cooler at 215 calories, about double what's in a glass of wine. Actual calories may be even higher depending on the brand and flavor.
It doesn't take much to change the calories in vodka and wine. Vodka can be made from a variety of products, including potatoes, wheat, corn and rye, or a mixture of grains. There's even a vodka made from milk by Vermont Spirits and a low-calorie, electrolyte-induced vodka from Voli Spirits. Specialty wine can also make a dramatic difference in calories.
When considering the calories in vodka, remember to add in anything you mix it with. Unlike wine, vodka is usually consumed within a cocktail instead of by itself. Drinking vodka with a mixer like tonic water, orange or cranberry juice will add calories. That 100-calorie vodka can quickly become a 300-calorie mixed drink. You will usually drink wine straight, though, keeping the calories exactly at the original amount.
Keep your alcohol consumption moderate. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink daily for women and two per day for men.