When dieting people closely watch their calories and are especially concerned with consuming wine and other alcoholic beverage since they contain “empty calories.” Empty calories are foods and beverages that contain little-to-no nutritional benefits. Wine is considered an empty calorie beverage so it is understandable that people would like to know whether white wine has fewer calories than red.
The simple answer is yes, on average the difference between a typical 5-ounce serving of white wine and red is between 5-10 calories. So while drinking white wine will be marginally better the difference is minuscule. A glass of the popular white wine, Chardonnay, has about 120 calories while the same size glass of Cabernet Sauvignon will typically be 127 calories.
A better way to determine calories is alcohol content. Just remember that the higher the alcohol content, the more calories a wine contains. Sugar content is also an important factor so pay attention to sweetness of the wine. The sweeter the wine, the higher the sugar content and thus the calories contained within. Muscato, a popular sweet white wine typically has 150-160 calories per 5-ounce serving. Another dessert wine favorite, Port, can have upwards of 185 calories per serving.
The minuscule difference in calorie content between white wine and red wine is hardly enough to fret over and when you take the health benefits of red wine into account the extra calories seem even more insignificant. Red wine contains heart healthy antioxidants which many doctors believe helps increase good cholesterol.
So while white wine does have fewer calories, as long as you are drinking in moderation, the difference is very small. If you prefer red to white wine go ahead and enjoy that glass of Zinfandel and cut the additional 7 calories elsewhere in your diet.