Calories in Alcohol

What Is The Calorie Content Of Alcohol?
How Do Alcohol Calories Work?



Calories In Alcohol
The calorie content of alcohol differs widely, understanding how alcohol calories work is the key




Before we take a look at alcohol and the way its calories affect you, let me just point out that if you arrived at this page looking for a chart showing the different calorie contents of alcoholic drinks, then please go to the alcohol calorie chart.

If, on the other hand, you would like to read about how alcohol calories affect the body then read on....






A very common explanation for the notorious ‘beer belly’ is that it is the result of fats being stored due to excess alcohol calories.

However, what many people fail to understand is that in truth, less than 5% of the calories in alcohol is actually turned to fat and stored in the body. Instead, alcohol actually ends up reducing the amount of fat your body burns for energy.


Alcohol Calorie Chart
Contrary to what you might think, drinking low calorie alcoholic drinks (or foods for that matter) is not going to help you lose weight. It will make no difference whatsoever. This is because you metabolism reacts to less calories by burning less energy. Less energy burnt equals less fat burnt. So what can you do? The Wake Up Lean program (stupid name, we know but don’t let that put you off, this really works) utilizes a method called calorie shifting that ‘confuses’ your metabolism into burning extra calories. Interested? Then click on the image to discover more.



Calories in Alcohol
The Science

In a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 8 men were given 2 drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade separated by 30 minutes.

No more than 90 calories were contained within each drink and their fat metabolism was measured prior to and after consuming the drinks.

In a measure of how much fat was burned by the body, results showed that it had dropped by 73% only a few hours after drinking the vodka.


So this is what occurs in your body when you have an alcoholic drink


  1. Acetate is formed by the alcohol your body takes in
  2. Your body recognizes the acetate as a fuel source and uses it
  3. Meanwhile the excess fat being stored by the body is ignored
  4. The excess fat remains where it is and any new fats being taken in (through food) are stored, as the body is using the acetate instead
  5. 'Beer bellies', 'love handles', whatever you care to call them, are created


Calories in Alcohol
The Alcoholics Skewed Logic

I know many alcohol abusers who believe that they can drink without putting on weight. They use this as a justification for their drinking The thinking goes... they are not like other alcoholics and that alcohol doesn't have any negative effects on them. However, the reason is much more mundane, they do not put on weight because they are not eating properly, so their body uses all the energy alcohol calories can provide.


Alcoholics give priority to alcohol. The body gets no nutrition from food, so has to use the acetate provided by alcohol and is glad for it, because the alcoholic rarely has any fat due to his/her poor eating habits.

Alcoholics may well be thin but they certainly aren't healthy. The physical and mental toll alcohol takes on their bodies far outweighs any 'aesthetic' benefit.


Calories in Alcohol
Should I Give Up Alcohol then?

If you are not an alcoholic then all the reasons mentioned above do not necessarily mean that you have to abstain from alcohol.

There are still a few things that you can do to ensure that alcohol calories do not impact on your weight too severely.

  • The first thing you should remember is that you should always drink in moderation. Limit your alcoholic intake to reduce the calories in alcohol. Do not go above 2 per day so you do not add unnecessary alcohol calories to your daily intake. This is hardly a problem for social drinkers and if you find yourself unable to even meet this basic requirement, you might want to take a look at the ten warning signs of alcoholism.
  • In addition, it is vital to understand that not only does the number of drinks you take affect the calories in alcohol, but also the amount of alcohol in each glass. A simple method is to go for mixed drinks which have low calorie mixers or to dilute the alcohol in your drink by adding more water. Ask for drinks made with soda or regular water. You can also alternate between alcoholic beverages and water to dilute the hard alcohol calories in your body system.
  • Furthermore, try to trick yourself into drinking less by filling your glass with more ice. If you glass is filled to the brim with ice, you will end up pouring less alcohol into it. Additionally, the ice will melt as you drink it and this will cause the drink to become more diluted naturally. The amount you drink might be the same but this method will ensure that for the volume that you take in, the calorie content of the alcohol your drinking will falls.
  • Subsequently, it will do well for you to keep an eye out for mixers with extremely high calories. It can be difficult to gauge the calories in alcohol when it comes to mixed drinks because you do not really know the exact contents. Nonetheless, a good rule of thumb here is that any drink that is too sweet or sour tends to be high in alcohol calories.
  • Finally, if all you need is a drink, you can skip mixed drinks altogether and go for wine, champagne or light beer. These usually have far less calories in alcohol and will serve the purpose of being a basic alcoholic beverage. Certain light beers have as little as 60 calories per bottle.




Alcohol Calorie Chart
Contrary to what you might think, drinking low calorie alcoholic drinks (or foods for that matter) is not going to help you lose weight. It will make no difference whatsoever. This is because you metabolism reacts to less calories by burning less energy. Less energy burnt equals less fat burnt. So what can you do? The Fat Loss 4 Idiots program (stupid name, we know but don’t let that put you off, this really works) utilizes a method called calorie shifting that ‘confuses’ your metabolism into burning extra calories. Interested? Then click on the image to discover more.




If you found this page helpful, then the following may be of interest to you:


Return from Calories in Alcohol to Alcohol Abuse Effects 

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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice, Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)



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