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Ethanol per calorie, beer vs wine vs liquors


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#1 Kent Wang

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 12:18 AM

My friend posed to me the question of how he can get drunk without getting fat, regardless of flavor. More precisely, this means which drinks have the highest ratio of ethanol to calories. Since alcoholic beverages are not required to have the USDA Nutrional Profile I don't know the calorie content. I'd imagine that beers (not all, some) are the worst, then wine, then the various liquors. Even within the liquors I'd imagine there is a lot of disparity. I'm guessing that rum, being made from sugars, have the most calories per ethanol while Everclear and vodka would have the best ratios.

Where can I find more information about this? It'd be especially nice to find calorie content of specific alcoholic beverages.

#2 johnsmith45678

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:05 AM

Try this new fangled thing ;P. I looked a bit and found:

Generally, 1 jigger or shot (1 1/2 ounces) of liquor (gin, rum, vodka and whiskey) contains: 97 calories and 14 grams alcohol. A 12 oz. beer has 150 calories and a 5 oz. glass of wine has 100 calories.

What alcoholic drinks are lowest in calories?
Calories in Alcoholic Drinks
Is beer or wine making you fat?

Interesting info I learned:

- Higher proof drinks have more calories (roughly 10-15 for each 10 proof increase, from 80 to 100 proof anyway). Everclear apparently has 190 calories per 1 oz.
- Non-alcoholic beer has about the same calories as regular beer.
- Light beer has about 2/3 the calories of regular beer.

Edited by johnsmith45678, 07 July 2006 - 01:06 AM.


#3 Carlovski

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 03:08 AM

Some of my female friends switch from beer to vodka and diet tonic when they want to lose a few pounds. And a friend of mine who lost a lot of weight with weightwatchers reckoned he was still allowed to drink a lot of Michelob Drys - they were about half a point or something, a burger being about 10 or something I guess!

Personally It's not the beer that gets me - it's the craving for curry/kebab afterwards!
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#4 eje

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 08:45 AM

[...]
Even within the liquors I'd imagine there is a lot of disparity. I'm guessing that rum, being made from sugars, have the most calories per ethanol while Everclear and vodka would have the best ratios.
[...]

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I don't think this is the case.

One of the more science minded folks can correct me if I'm wrong; but, I believe, as long as we're talking about spirits distilled in an alambic or column still, almost all the sugars get left behind, no matter what that base spirit.

There might be some minimal difference between spirits distilled to lower proofs and those distilled to higher proofs.

Also, some vodka and flavored spirits may get sugar added back in after distillation. In the case of "straight" spirits this is not allowed.

There is also an important distinction to be made between chemical "calories", like those in ethyl alcohol, and calories with food value, like those in sugars. Your body does very different things with them.

Most of the calories with any food value in mixed drinks are going to come from fruit juices, sugar, mixers, and liqueurs.
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#5 slkinsey

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 09:16 AM

Virtually all the calories in spirits come from the ethanol, unless you're talking about a sweet, low proof liqueur. For example, there is little meaningful difference between the caloric value of a shot of 100 proof bourbon and a shot of 100 proof vodka.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#6 johnsmith45678

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 12:58 PM

Dry has fewer calories than sweet, at least for wines anyway.

#7 mizducky

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:21 PM

The big encyclopedic calorie-counter websites include full nutritional info about all sorts of wines, beers, and spirits, including a bunch specifically by brand-name. The site I use most often is CalorieKing, though there are other equally-extensive sites out there.

And yeah, what everyone has already said about the specific calorie ranges of distilled spirits, sweetened spirits/liqueurs, beers, wines, etc.

Myself, I found it not too difficult to adjust my booze preferences to my weight-loss routine. I'm a Manhattan-drinker, but I've decided with the infrequency of my indulgences I'm not gonna sweat the small amounts of sweet vermouth involved, let alone the damn cherry. Otherwise, I either choose straight bourbon, or a dry wine.

Now if I could just find another cocktail I like as much as a Manhattan, but not any sweeter/gunked up than a Manhattan (and also not so obscure/complicated that I have to teach the bartender how to make the damn thing ... :rolleyes: )

(edited because I can never spell "liqueur" right the first time :laugh: )

Edited by mizducky, 07 July 2006 - 01:22 PM.


#8 Tess

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:40 PM

I'm on Weight Watchers and they give you a points count for alcoholic drinks. The only ones I avoid completely are the ones with sugary mixes or cream or both. I'm with mizducky; you should have what you enjoy. People tell me that red wine is more fattening than white or champagne; however, I can be happy with less red wine. If I just wanted the biggest alchoholic bang for my buck, though, I'd go with hard liquor.

Alternatively, drink whatever, whenever, chain smoke and don't eat. Works for a lot of my relatives.

#9 slkinsey

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:48 PM

Yes, skipping dinner and going straight to the booze and sex does seem to do wonders for one's waistline.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#10 jsolomon

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:49 PM

Mixed drinks, especially froofy sugary ones are going to be your worst enemas. They have none of the fine points of wine or beer, and all of the calories, if not more.

Also, I'm not aware of a gluconeogenesis pathway in humans using ethanol as a starting material, so I'm not sure it really counts as being caloric. It does produce some energy through ethanol -> acetaldehyde + NADH + H+, but that's negligible to the energy in ethanol.

Anyhoo, good luck.
I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

#11 slkinsey

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:50 PM

Mixed drinks, especially froofy sugary ones are going to be your worst enemas.

I would just like to point out that using any kind of alcohol "that way" is probably not a good idea, sugary mixers or no.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#12 kvltrede

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 03:44 PM

Mixed drinks, especially froofy sugary ones are going to be your worst enemas.

I would just like to point out that using any kind of alcohol "that way" is probably not a good idea, sugary mixers or no.

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I had the same thought, Sam. And then I thought that considering the lack of flavor and imagination in a Vodka Tonic one might as well order a vodka colonic....

Ba dum bum.

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#13 jsolomon

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 07:21 PM

Yes, skipping dinner and going straight to the booze and sex does seem to do wonders for one's waistline.

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When I was working at a University Women's Center, my boss kept telling me that I could not recommend that as an exercise regime, no matter how fat, desparate, or whatever, the person coming for help.

I always thought that whatever you do to work off your food or beer should be worth the effort. I'm glad to see you and I are of the same mind!

On the topic, I celebrated it with a grasshopper, just because I could.
I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.