Alcohol in beverages contains seven calories per gram, compared to nine calories per gram in dietary fat, and four calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. Therefore, heavy drinking can quickly cause your calorie intake to skyrocket.
Moderate drinking, however, is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, note authors of a 2008 review in the "American Journal of Therapeutics". Drinking a six ounce glass of merlot, therefore, doesn't have to be negated if you're currently on a diet.
According to LIVESTRONG's food database MyPlate, a six-ounce glass of merlot contains about 144 calories, no fat, four grams of carbohydrates and less than a gram of protein. Drinking two six-ounce glasses of merlot adds up to 288 calories.
Your total daily calorie needs for healthy weight maintenance depend on your age, gender and activity level. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests most women need about 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily, while men often require 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
Drinking two glasses of merlot will make up about 14 percent of a 2,000 calorie diet.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests men limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks daily, and women drink no more than one drink per day. The AHA classifies four ounces of wine as one alcoholic drink.
Therefore, if you drink a six-ounce glass of merlot, you're drinking 1.5 alcoholic beverages. Women who stick with the AHA recommendation and drink one alcoholic beverage daily could choose a four-ounce glass of merlot, which contains 96 calories, according to MyPlate.
Wine vs. Other Drinks
The calorie content of alcoholic beverages varies by the type of alcohol and ingredients you mix with it.
According to MyPlate:
- Six ounces of regular beer contain 78 calories
- Six ounces of light beer contain 54 calories
- Six ounces of margarita or pina colada contain upwards of 400 calories
While four ounces of merlot wine is classified as one drink, so is 12 ounces of beer, one ounce of 100-proof spirits and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, notes the AHA.
Risks of Too Much Alcohol
While many healthy adults can drink merlot — or other alcoholic beverages — in moderation and maintain healthy body weights, consuming excess wine can lead to weight gain and increased disease risks.
According to the AHA, people who consume more than the recommended alcohol limit per day have increased risks for obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, suicide, alcoholism, accidents and breast cancer.
Please drink responsibly.
More About MyPlate
The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.
- Calories in alcohol | Drinkaware
- American Journal of Therapeutics: The Cardiovascular Implications of Alcohol and Red Wine
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Balance Food and Activity
- American Heart Association: Alcoholic Beverages and Cardiovascular Disease
- Each Gram of Protein & Carbohydrates Contains How Many Kilocalories?