Maintaining a healthy weight requires management of proper caloric intake, so it is important for individuals to pay attention to the number of calories in the food and beverages they consume – and alcohol is no exception. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans remind consumers that “the amount of alcohol and calories in beverages varies and should be accounted for within the limits of healthy dietary patterns, so that calorie limits are not exceeded.”
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines further notes that “alcoholic beverages are not a component of the USDA Dietary Patterns and their calories are considered discretionary. Regular consumption of alcoholic beverages can make it challenging for adults to meet food group and nutrient needs while not consuming excess calories. The ingredients in certain mixed drinks, including soda, mixers, and heavy cream, also can contribute to intake of added sugars and saturated fat.”
As noted in the Dietary Guidelines, it is important to account not only for the alcohol but also for any mixers uses. Sodas, tonics and juices can be substituted with lower- or zero-calorie versions and garnishes such as apple or orange slices add color and flavor while keeping the calorie count down.1
A 1.5-ounce drink of distilled spirits (40% alcohol) is 98 calories. A 5-ounce drink of wine (12% alcohol) is about 120 calories. A 12-ounce drink of regular beer (5% alcohol) is about 150 calories. Learn more here.
To learn about the calories in specific beverages, use the tool below, which links to the USDA’s FoodData Central database: