The Calories in Beer and Hard Alcohol

The Calories in Beer and Hard Alcohol

Don't just blame it on the Goose. Let's learn a little about how many calories are in your favorite alcohol beverages.

Lets talk alcohol. First things first, though, studs. Do what you will with this disclaimer, but as someone who would like to have a career in the future, I have to preface this by saying that alcohol only seems to have health benefits when consumed in moderation. There are many negative effects to consuming mass quantities of alcohol including looking like a fool, making regrettable decisions, dealing with terrible hangovers (none of which I've ever experienced, only heard about, of course)... oh, and cancer, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, etc.

 

"Moderation" is defined as one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males. Now, this does not mean, gentlemen, that if you only drink once a week, 14 drinks are in order!! But I know some of you may do it anyway so let’s chit chat about making some better choices while raging for your 48 hours of freedom.

Before we get to the alcohol breakdown, here are two food/beverage related tips:

1. Eat something –anything— before going out.
Ok, girls and boys, you crazy twenty and thirty somethings. Teenagers, put that drink down (just kidding). I know this may seem counter-intuitive to having a good night, but for the love of god, start off the night with dinner. By not eating before you go out you are guaranteeing you will get too drunk. And it's not cool or attractive to the opposite sex, I can assure you. Plus, you will be starving by the time you get home and eat an entire pepperoni pizza + fried food + processed foods like oreos. Am I right or am I right?

2. Skip the regular soda, tonic water, milky drinks and juices.
Sugar, sugar, sugar. Unless you are planning on running a marathon all night long, I don't forsee you burning off those calories, no matter how much you break it down on the dance floor or fist pump. Go for diet soda or seltzer water for mixers.

   

People tend to be confused between tonic and seltzer/club soda. First of all, club soda and seltzer water are essentially interchangeable. Tonic has about 80 calories per 8 oz cup. Seltzer has zero, zilch, nada. Therefore, seltzer/club soda is where it's at. So forget about gin and tonic and vodka tonics. Your new drink of choice is vodka soda and gin and soda. I know it might sounds weird, but get over it.

So are there differences in nutrition between hard alcohols?

Not really. 1.5-ounces (one shot glass) of 80 proof distilled spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila) contains somewhere between 94-104 calories, depending on the production and the company.

Additionally, the higher the proof, the higher the calorie content of the drink-- so by drinking a higher proof alcohol like 151, you're not necessarily saving yourself calories, you're just making a perfectly enjoyable drink taste terrible.

So, bottom line: no one hard alcohol is healthier than another. 

What’s the take away here?  Nix those sugary mixers, tonic included. Tip? Try having water between drinks. You wont get a hangover, PLUS no beer goggle regrets. Cheers to that :)

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About the Author

Carolyn is a Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian and has her masters in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. She went to Tulane in New Orleans for undergrad, spent 3 months traveling around the world on Semester at Sea and then swung through Boulder, CO before landing in her current home of NYC. Carolyn has a blog called One Smart Brownie (www.onesmartbrownie.com) to simplify healthy eating for those who don’t spend their lives studying nutrition. Her favorite hobbies include getting new stamps on her passport and telling yo mama jokes, and she says that if she were to have a crush on a food it would be chocolate biscotti, no questions asked.