Department of Recreation and Wellness
Alcohol and Nutrition
Alcohol itself is a source of calories. The number of calories in a drink is primarily determined by the alcohol content, rather than the amount of sugar that is added to the drink. That's because alcohol is more calorie dense than carbohydrates.
Alcohol is a source of "empty calories," which means it is calorie dense but does not provide other nutrients, like vitamin and minerals.
This table shows the relative number of calories (calories per gram) coming from each macro-nutrient group.
|One Gram (g)||Calories|
So which drinks should have the most calories? Drinks with high alcohol content, larger sizes, and additional sugar and syrup mixers.
Calorie Content of Common Drinks
Normally, we don't think about food in terms of calories per gram. The table below reports the amount of calories in common drinks. Note: Drink sizes do not necessarily represent Standard Servings.
|64||Miller Genuine Draft 64 (12 oz)|
|95||Natural Light (12 oz)|
|99||Corona Light (12 oz)|
|110||Bud Light (12 oz)|
|116||Bud Light Lime (12 oz)|
|125||Yuengling Lager (12 oz)|
|150||Heineken (12 oz)|
|157||Natural Ice (12 oz)|
|170||Sam Adams Boston Lager (12 oz)|
|200||Sam Adams Winter Lager (12 oz)|
|231||Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale (12 oz)|
|220||Mike's Hard Lemonade (12 oz)|
|220||Twisted Tea (12 oz)|
|228||Smirnoff Ice (12 oz)|
|229||Bacardi Silver Mojito (12 oz)|
|660||Four Loko (23.5 oz)|
|105||Beringer White Zinfandel (5 oz)|
|100||Yellow Tail Shiraz (5 oz)|
|120||Sauvignon Blanc (5 oz)|
|409||Bahama Breeze Ultimate Pina Colada (12 oz)|
|400||Dirty Martini with Olives (6 oz)|
|425||White Russian (5 oz)|
|775||Applebee's Mud Slide|
|780||Long Island (8 oz)|
Alcohol in the bloodstream causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of vasopressin. This causes the kidneys to send water directly to the bladder rather than reabsorbing filtered water into the bloodstream. This diuretic effect increases as the blood alcohol content increases, and can lead to dehydration - a contributing factor to hangovers.
Studies have shown that drinking 250 mL of alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel between 800-1000 mL. This means that the body is releasing more than just the liquid being consumed. One way to decrease the effect is to keep your BAC low, and alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (preferably water).