Calories in Beer – You Bet!

Calories in Beer – You Bet!

I remember the first time I found out about beer calories. I was on a date in college and we went to a kegger, as many students did then and still do now. After our first beer, I asked my date if she wanted another and she said no, too many calories.

I said, “What, there are calories in beer?” She then explained to me that there are over 100 calories in most beers. I quickly did the math in my head, 5 or 6 beers was a huge calorie intake. I was surprised, to say the least.

The thought never crossed my mind that the carbs and alcohol in beer could amount to that many calories. So being a college student I went to the library the next day and looked up beer calories.

My girlfriend was wrong, the calories in my preferred beer (Tecate) was 147! Whoa, so 5 or 6 servings was a whopping 882 calories. That’s almost half of the 2000 daily calories recommended (which I think is high to start with).

Now I understood the comment of “beer belly”. The beer calories have little if any nutritional value and your fat around the waist appears to be the landing place of choice.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons, watching football and having a few beers took on a whole new meaning. Add in the nachos, chicken wings, and other associated snacks and I’ll be I was hitting 2000 calories per game. Not good.

You can’t see calories, although some people swear you can taste them. It’s easy to overlook calories in beer or other liquors when you figure your daily intake. Just think about that the next time you stop after work for a beer with the guys (or girls).

Here are the average beer calories by categories (regular, lite, low carb):

Regular Beer – 5% Alcohol – 102 Calories

Light Beer – 3.1% Alcohol – 100 Calories

Low Carb Beer – 4.2% Alcohol – 57 Calories

Here’s a basic breakdown of the ingredients in a regular beer:

Total Fat0 g
Sat. Fat0 g
Trans Fat0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium9 mg
Carbs.8.4 mg
Protein1.1 g
Calcium9.5 mg
Potassium6.4 mg
Fat0 cal
Carbs34 cal
Protein4 cal
Alcohol65 cal

I was surprised that the light beer had as many calories as the regular. What’s that all about? A beer that uses light in the name and has the same amount of calories is pretty misleading. I guess they are referring to the alcohol content?

So not all light beer has fewer calories. Either carbs or alcohol has to go to reduce the beer calories. Next time you order a light version, make sure you check the label to make sure that the beer calories are truly less than regular beer.

Even no alcohol beer can have up to 50 calories. It’s always a good idea to check any label on any kind of beer if you want to know the real caloric content. I have no idea why a beer company would want to misrepresent the number of calories but it sure does look like it.

One trick I use on myself is to convert anything I eat or drink into the exercise necessary to burn the calories. When I’m debating whether to have that third beer, I ask myself if I’m going to go run for 15 minutes when I get home. That often puts the end to the third beer desire.

Another often overlooked issue with beer calories is there is no food value and very little useful calories. There are times and places that a beer or two is both a reward or social activity. And that’s probably worth the calories. Just enjoy with moderation.


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The content on this site is presented only for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician.

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