The alcohol in wine is its main source of calculable energy. This
is supplemented by sugar, which occurs in substantial amounts in
some sweet wines. Contrary to requirements in other viticultural
areas, any sugar in California wines must be grape sugar, as use
of non-grape sugar in production of these wines is prohibited by
In a diet, what matters most is not that a wine, or any other food,
contains one or more vital components, but rather how the body is
able to make use of these components.
We Americans, being well versed in the counting of calories, are
becoming aware of the different ways our bodies handle the calories
from different foods. It will come as no surprise to us that alcohol
is a quick-energy food, with calories that are readily burned rather
than stored. Calories from carbohydrates, on the other hand, are
usually stored by the body for future use. Here lies the principle
value of wine as an energy food when weight loss is desired. It
has been shown that alcohol may be used in place of fats or carbohydrates
and that it may spare protein in the process. The metabolized alcohol
in wine contributes directly not only to the maintenance of body
energy, but also to a general decrease in food intake accompanied
by a better storage of proteins.
The wines average about 80 calories per 100 cubic centimeters,
or roughly 24 calories per ounce. Most of these calories come from
their approximate 12% alcohol content. Dry Sherry contains about
33 calories per ounce when the label states 17% alcohol and 38 calories
when the label states 20% alcohol. Dessert wines are about 41 to
45 calories when the label states 18% alcohol and 44 to 48 calories
when the label states 20% alcohol.
Other sources of calories in wine are the simple sugars, principally
glucose and fructose, which are usually stored by the body until
their calories are needed for extra energy. Wines may contain from
one-fourth of one percent to as much as 10 percent of simple sugars,
depending upon the type of wine.
Fructose is two and a half times sweeter than glucose. Research
has shown that fructose is able to maintain and repair the liver,
and that it serves as an intermediary substance in metabolism.
As for glucose, every physician recognizes that its rapid absorption
and complete availability make it an immediately useful energy food.
This is especially important when metabolic requirements are excessive.
It is a protective agent for all body tissue, and some consider
it to be the most important single nutritional factor in the prevention
of fatty infiltration of the liver.
Since wine is often used in cooking, it should be pointed out that
a dry table wine will lose 35% of its original calories when subjected
to sufficient heat to cause its alcohol to evaporate. All the alcohol
in a cup of wine placed in a pan in a 300° oven for 10 minutes
will boil off. The 15% of non-alcoholic calories remaining would
include glycerin, pentose, glucose, etc.
Dessert wines with their higher count of sugar will lose all alcohol
calories when heated as above, but will retain their sugar calories.
However, if subjected to a high temperature for a longer period
of time ó a Sherry or Port baste on a ham baking in a 300° oven
for one hour or more ó the sugars will carmelize, thus destroying
these calories too.
||Calories Per OZ.
||OZ. Per Serving
|Red Table Wines
24 to 25
|Most preferred with steaks, roasts, game, spaghetti, cheeses,
|White Table Wines
22 to 26
|Most preferred with fish, shellfish, poultry.
|Champagnes and Other Sparkling Wines
24 to 25
|These festive wines are appropriate anytime, along with food
or by themselves.
|Usually drunk before meals or with soup course.
41 to 45
|Particularly good with fruit, nuts, cheese, plain cake, cookies.
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