Many of us have gone through the beer binge/food binge cycle where we pound the drinks and put on the pounds. No one is surprised by a headache and belly bloat the next morning. On International Beer Day, the key to avoiding a hangover and the weight gain is to drink in moderation.

Moderate drinking is defined as having up to four alcoholic drinks for men and three for women in any single day, for a maximum of 14 drinks for men and seven drinks for women per week, according to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA). Yet, 23 percent of adult men admit to binge drinking five times a month, averaging eight drinks per binge, while 12 percent of adult women admit to binge drinking three times a month for an average of five drinks per binge. This kind of drinking can easily lead to a bloated belly, and as a result, weight gain.

Read More: Drinking Without Getting Drunk

When we drink alcohol, it temporarily stops our body from burning fat, since the body can’t store calories from alcohol the way it does for food. Therefore, the metabolic system prioritizes getting rid of alcohol first, and whatever we ate prior to drinking will get stored as fat. Alcohol decreases fat burn in the belly, hence why we often hear about getting a “beer belly.”

This means having a couple of drinks within an hour can have a dramatic effect on our body’s fat burning ability. For example, a UC Berkeley study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people who drank an ounce of alcohol from two cocktails had a 73 percent decrease in fat burning after two hours. The consumption of large quantities of alcohol add on the calories and have a negative effect on the body’s fat burning ability.

Therefore, to have your beer and drink it too, even if you’re on a diet, follow these five tips to prevent weight gain.

Contents

Know the difference between light beer, low-alcohol beer, and low-carb beer

“Light” beer, “low-alcohol” beer, and “low-carb” beer sound like attractive options for people who want to limit their beer calories. But, it’s important to know the differences between these three types of beer before you order a light draft at the bar. Light beer has been brewed to be lower in alcohol, lower in calories, or both, while low-carb beer has been brewed to remove carbohydrates, but it could still have the same alcohol content.

This suggests a low-carb beer could have a very similar calorie content as a regular beer. As for light beers, they’re lower in alcohol, but some drinkers may have more, because it takes a higher quantity to get the same buzz. In the end, drinkers may end up consuming more calories and more alcohol than intended.

Five healthy tips to drink beer without the belly bloat, from drinking slow and steady to eating protein. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

Moreover, light beers can vary by brand. For example, Bud Light has 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbohydrates per 12 oz., while Coors Light has 102 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, light beers are brewed with minimal ingredients to be made light, which means they end up with almost no nutritional value. Contrastingly, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has 2 grams of protein and 270 milligrams of potassium.

Read More: Is Light Beer Really Healthier? A Closer Look At America’s Most Favorite Beer

If you can drink beers moderately, then light beers may be a good choice for dieters.

Drink slow and steady

Drinking beer slow and steady is integral to moderation. It takes at least an hour for the liver to process a standard drink, therefore, drinking one beer in under an hour will lead the body slow down its fat burning ability and store more fat in the body.

According to Ayoob, “The more slowly you drink any alcoholic beverage, the more time you give your body to metabolize it.

A Canadian review also supports this belief: researchers found moderate volumes of alcohol do have heart-friendly benefits, but only if the volume is spread out evenly, with one or two drink a day, rather than sporadic binges. Specifically, an average of one to three drinks a day was tied to a reduction in the risk of heart-related disease and death as much as 60 percent. But, these results varied across different studies, which means beer’s heart-protective effect is borderline.

Drink water before, during, and after

A drink of water for every drink of alcohol can help with moderation and preventing a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will cause us to become dehydrated. But, if we drink plenty of water before drinking, this will keep us from feeling thirsty and prompt us to drink slowly.

Ayoob adds: “It substitutes water for an alcoholic drink of the same volume.”

Watch the shape of your beer glass.

The shape of our beer glass has an effect in our drinking behaviors. A 2015 study found using straight-sided glasses led to less alcohol consumption than drinking from curved glasses. Moreover, when glasses included marked volume measurements, drinkers had a slower drinking rate of 10 minutes compared to 9.1 minutes

People who are mindful of their drink portion and glass size are better able to monitor their intake. According to Ayoob, if a standard portion of beer is about 12-oz., or 360 milliliters (ml), this would be about 154 calories. Therefore, an 8-oz. glass would have about 100 calories. Light beer will have less, depending on its alcohol content, from 55 to 95 calories in a 12-oz.

Eat protein

Indulging in protein before or during drinking can help curb how many beers we drink in one sitting. Protein is a satiating macronutrient and has a thermic effect of food (TEF) of 20 to 30 percent, which means 20 to 30 percent of the calories in protein are used when the body’s processing it. A protein-rich meal before drinking will control blood alcohol levels.

Protein is effective in decreasing the absorption rate and increasing the elimination rate of alcohol. High-protein meals can stimulate the liver and delay gastric emptying, reducing alcohol entering the bloodstream to under 40 percent. This means a good meal can cut the potential damage of alcohol in half.

Good proteins include, turkey, grilled chicken, and tuna, among many others.

These five tips will help you enjoy your beer without the belly bloat.

See Also:

Drinking Alcohol Makes Straight Men More Sexually Fluid

Just 21 Instances Of Unhealthy Alcohol Use May Cause Early Signs Of Liver Damage

gruntinggrowler.com

Beer might not be there first beverage that comes to mind when trying to lose weight, but you might be surprised at how much they might actually help you get to your goal. If you feel like you might need a little more beer in your diet, we have found the eight best ones for weight loss. Hey, it’s not the worst diet food, right?

Number Eight: Sam Adams Light Beer

If you like the taste of craft beer on a calorie budget, Sam Adams has your back. This flavorful blend is a pale malt with a smooth, caramel finish. This beer may have more calories than other light beers, at 119 calories and 9.6 grams of carbs, but it also has about 4% alcohol.

Number Seven: Bud Light

This classic light beer has become the star of the domestic world. It provides the classic, clean taste of Budweiser with only 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbohydrates.

Number Six: Miller Light

Another light malt beverage with a clean and crisp taste, Miller Light is a common choice for dieters. This American-style lager has only 100 calories with 3.2 grams of carbohydrates.

Number Five: Corona Light

Corona Light is another fine choice for those who don’t want to sacrifice the taste of their everyday beer. It is a great choice for those who crave the taste of hops and has only 99 calories with five grams of carbs.

Number Four: Coors Light

Coors Light is a crisp beverage that proves you can have a good time without breaking the calorie bank. This American lager has a mere 105 calories and 5.5 grams of carbohydrates.

Number Three: Michelob Ultra

If you are a fan of Michelob Ultra, you may not have even known that this is a light beer. The makers of Michelob ensure a satisfying night with this beverage of 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs.

Number Two: MGD 64

This Miller product often goes overlooked, but the caloric content is right on the label. This refreshing and crisp beer has just 64 calories and only 2.4 grams of carbohydrates.

Number One: Beck’s Premier Light

Beck’s is a household name for great beer, and they offer the premier choice for dieters. With 64 calories and 3.9 grams of carbs, this lager will get you amped up for the perfect workout. We hope you enjoyed our ranking of the eight best beers for weight loss!

Beer has kind of a terrible reputation when it comes to weight loss. It’s full of bubbles that bloat you and carbohydrates that can crush your low-carb eating plan (if that’s what you’re into, that is).

But fear not: “Drinking beer doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to put the brakes on your weight-loss journey,” says New York-based registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood. “One light beer is the caloric equivalent of two mini Snickers.” So the occasional beer (or two) is no biggie, especially if you include them as part of your calorie quota for the day. Drink up on the regular, however, and the waters can get murky.

RELATED: These Are The Best Wines To Drink If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

Naturally, the best way to stay on the wagon (at least, when it comes to your calorie intake) is to plan ahead, steering clear of the brewskies that can do the most damage to your waistline, says Lockwood. (Learn how bone broth can help you lose weight with Women’s Health’s Bone Broth Diet.)

Check out these moves that can help you torch calories fast.

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“Because beer has no fat and doesn’t provide a strong source of nutritional value, you want to aim for the least-dense beers, lowest alcohol content (more alcohol = more calories), and smallest amount of carbs and calories to stay on track,” she says.

These include brands like:

Bonus: “The higher level of carbonation in these light beers takes up more room in your stomach than regular beers, which can help stave off hunger,” she adds.

These beers also won’t put a damper on your weight-lossjourney as much as thicker beers, which contain the highest content of carbs and calories due to their richness in flavor and body, says Lockwood.

Watch out for:

RELATED: Will Saving My Calories For Alcohol Help Me Lose Weight?

But if light beer basically tastes like water to you, you’re not doomed. “Many people think darker beers are higher in calories because they sometimes feel heavier in our stomachs,” says Montana-based registered dietitian Jenna Gorham. “However, this isn’t always the case.” For a rough estimate of how many calories are in your go-to beer, multiply the alcohol percentage by two, then multiply that number by the number of ounces in the bottle or can (and plan accordingly). That can be a really helpful trick if you’re sipping a lesser-known beer at a bar.

Another trick that can help you stay on track: Alternate between beer and sparkling water to stay hydrated and ultimately drink less alcohol overall, says Gorham.

RELATED: The 4 Mistakes That Are Wrecking Your Weight-Loss Results

Also, keep in mind that it’s usually not the beer itself that halts weight loss—it’s the food decisions you make once your inhibitions are MIA. Because beer falls under the category of empty calories, we tend to crave fried, cheesy, and carb-heavy foods when we’re kicking back, says Lockwood, which aren’t exactly the best options your waistline.

To avoid going into calorie overdraft, decide your dinner plans ahead of time so your potential beer buzz won’t affect your judgment. If that’s not an option and your squad orders appetizers for the table, make the appetizers your dinner and remember the rule of one: Take one sampling of each order (one mozz stick, one slider, one spoonful of guac) and mindfully indulge without beating yourself up about it, says Lockwood. Guilt will only lead to more drinking, more snacking, and less shedding—and who wants that?

Krissy Brady Krissy is a regular contributor to Prevention, and she also writes for Cosmopolitan, Weight Watchers, Women’s Health, FitnessMagazine.com, Self.com, and Shape.com.

Calories in alcohol


Alcohol support

Weight gain

Wine, beer, cider, spirits and many more of our favourite drinks are made from natural starch and sugar. Fermentation (and distillation for certain drinks) is used to produce the alcohol content.

This is why alcohol contains lots of calories – 7 calories per gram, which is almost as many as a gram of fat. Plus, additional calories can be in added mixer drinks, such as cola or tonic water.

Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your waistline and cause less obvious, but more serious, health problems.

Find out more about the recommended limit for alcohol units.

Tips to avoid weight gain:

  • Men and women are advised to not regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
  • Alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. If you do reach for snacks while drinking, choose a healthier option.
  • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Instead, drink at your own pace.
  • Try cutting down with a friend, as you’ll be more likely to stick to it with moral support.
  • Eat a healthy dinner before you start drinking so you’re not tempted to go for less healthy options later in the evening.
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips.
  • Avoid “binge drinking” – it’s not advisable to “save up” your units to splurge at the weekend.
  • If you’re drinking white wine, why not add a splash of soda water to help the same number of units last longer?

Find out more tips on cutting down your alcohol intake.

Alcohol consumption inspires a variety of dietary questions. How many calories in a bottle of beer? Does red wine have more calories than white wine? And you don’t even want to know the amount of calories in eggnog.

Alcohol and body weight
The calories in alcohol add up to increased body fat. Not a pretty sight. Consider these points:

  • Calories in alcohol are used before stored fat calories. There goes the theory that drinking a beer (or two) after a workout counts as a fluid replacement. In reality, post-exercise alcohol is a straight-to-the-fat-pads beverage.
  • People who are overweight actually gain weight more easily when they drink alcohol.
  • Calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen. If you want six-pack abs, abstain from alcohol.

Calorie content of common alcoholic beverages
Although alcohol itself doesn’t contain fat, it is packed with calories. And when you add in mixers, juice, sugar, and other ingredients, the calories can really add up.
Beer
Non-alcoholic beer actually has the same calories as beer with alcohol: 148 calories in 12 ounces. Drinking light beer, you’ll only take in 99 calories per 12 ounces. One six-pack has more than 800 calories (and that’s without the chips and dip).
Wine

Dry wine contains fewer calories than sweet: 106 calories for 5 ounces of dry wine and a whopping 226 calories for 5 ounces of sweet dessert wine (without the chocolate mousse). If you drink a glass of wine before dinner, another glass with dinner and a sweet wine for dessert, you’ve added more than 400 calories to your meal.

You’ll be glad to hear that champagne contains the same amount of calories as other dry wines, 106 calories per 5 ounces.

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The hard stuff

The calories in gin, rum, vodka or whiskey depends on the proof, which is twice the percentage of alcohol. For example, 90 proof vodka contains 45 percent alcohol; 100 proof contains 50 percent alcohol. And it’s easy to guess which has more calories: The higher the proof, the higher the calories. Here’s the damage:

  • 1 1/2 ounces 80 proof contains 97 calories
  • 1 1/2 ounces 90 proof contains 110 calories
  • 1 1/2 ounces 100 proof contains 124 calories

Calorie content of other types of liquor varies greatly. If you’re watching your weight, choose cordial, at only 20 calories per 1 1/2 ounces. Schnapps has 108 calories per 1 1/2 ounces, but 1 1/2 ounces of creme de menthe will set you back 186 calories.
Mixed drinks

Obviously, the larger the drink the higher the calorie content. If your favorite watering hole serves pond-sized margaritas, you can easily drink more than 400 calories (without the tortilla chips and guacamole). Choose a more petite 2-ounce Manhattan and you’ll only drink 128 calories. Here are common serving sizes and calorie amounts for your favorite drinks:

  • 5-ounce Blood Mary: 115 calories (and the celery adds less than 5 calories)
  • 8-ounce eggnog: 490 calories (remember I said you wouldn’t believe this)
  • 7.5-ounce gin and tonic: 171 calories
  • 4.5-ounce pina colada: 262 calories
  • 3-ounce whiskey sour: 122 calories
    Adding it all up

One beer every night adds 1,036 additional calories per week, or 15 pounds, to your stomach per year. No wonder they call it a beer belly. Three glasses of dry wine a week will cost you 318 calories, which takes an additional three miles on the treadmill just to walk off the extra calories. If you’re watching your weight, try this advice:

• Don’t drink alcohol on a regular basis.
• Remember that the calories from alcohol add up quickly, and they go straight to the fat in your abdomen.
• Most people eat high calorie snacks when they drink alcohol, a double whammy in terms of weight gain.
Suddenly, water with a twist of lemon never looked so good.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

A typical 6 oz. glass of wine or 12 oz. beer has as many calories as a can of Coke (140). Some beers have twice that much.

But you’d never know the calories in alcoholic drinks from many of their labels and non-chain-restaurant menus. (Chain restaurants must disclose calories for drinks on their menus, and some beer brewers and other alcohol companies label calories voluntarily.)

Alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths each year in this country, mostly from car crashes, suicides, violence, falls, and liver disease. But booze can also leave its mark on your midsection.

Beer

A beer’s calories depend mostly on alcohol and, to a lesser extent, on carbs.

  • Regular. An average 5% alcohol brew like Budweiser hovers around 150 calories.
  • IPAs. Heavy hitters (6% to 9% alcohol) like IPAs, double IPAs, and Belgian-style Trippels pack 200 to 300 calories. Gulp! A lower-alcohol “session” IPA cuts that to 140 or so.
  • Draft pours. Do the math. Even an average beer hits 200 or 250 calories when you’re served a 16 or 20 oz. glass.

Wine

Red or white, expect roughly 150 calories for 6 ounces, the amount in a restaurant pour. A 9 oz. glass reaches 220 calories. Even many higher-sugar whites (like Moscato or Riesling) are in the same ballpark. Our chart below shows how wines from some big brands vary.

A glass of sangria typically has 200 to 300 calories, thanks to fruit, juice, sugar, etc.

Liquor and liqueur

Rule of thumb: any gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey has 100 to 120 calories per 1.5 oz. shot, before you add any mixers. That’s because all of liquor’s calories come from its alcohol (40% to 50%).

Exceptions: “Cask strength” or “barrel proof” liquor can reach 150-or-so calories. Liqueurs (like Baileys or Cointreau) vary, depending on their alcohol, sugar, or other extras.

Seltzer, cider, etc.

Most hard seltzers match the calories of a light beer (100-ish). And sugar ranges from zero (Bon & Viv, Henry’s, Smirnoff) to half a teaspoon (Nauti, Truly, White Claw) in 12 oz. Sure beats other sweet sips:

  • Hard cider. Expect up to 200 calories and 3 to 5 teaspoons of sugar—some from juice—in 12 oz. Dry ciders are lower (150 calories).
  • Ritas. This brand of canned sparkling margaritas—made with high fructose corn syrup and, in some flavors, food dyes and sucralose—crams 190 to 220 calories into just 8 oz. How many of the 21 to 29 grams of carbs are added sugar? The company won’t say.

Mixed drinks

Drinks vary from one bartender to another. The usual ranges at chain restaurants that list calories on the menu:

  • Martini or Manhattan. Classic cocktails with little added sugar (Manhattan) or no added sugar (martini) typically fall in the 150-to-200-calorie range.
  • Moscow mule or mojito. Expect about 200 to 300 calories.
  • Margarita. A classic margarita—tequila, lime, triple sec—in a small glass limits the calories to 200. But sugary (often frozen) margs jump to 350…and oversized ones reach 500.
  • Blended frozen drinks. Large frozen mudslides or other boozy ice cream shakes hit 500 to 800-plus calories. That’s like slurping up a (540-calorie) Big Mac…or more. May-day!

Calories, carbs, and sugar in alcoholic drinks

Within each category of the charts below, alcoholic drinks are ranked from least to most calories, then (if shown) grams of sugar, and then grams of carbs. The % column lists percent alcohol by volume (ABV), when available. “NA” means that a number isn’t available.

  • Beer (12 oz.)
  • Wine (6 oz.)
  • Liquor (1.5 oz.)
  • Liqueur (1.5 oz.)
  • Hard Cider (12 oz.)
  • Hard Seltzer (12 oz.)
  • Flavored Malt Beverages (12 oz., unless noted)

Beer (12 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs
Budweiser Select 55 2.4 55 2
Miller 64 2.8 64 2
Corona Premier 4 90 3
Budweiser Select 4.3 100 3
Busch Light 4.1 100 3
Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty Lo-Cal IPA 4 100 3
Michelob Ultra or Miller Lite 4.2 100 3
Victory Easy Ringer Lo-Cal IPA 4.3 100 3
Coors Light 4.2 100 5
Corona Light 4 100 5
Sufferfest Repeat Kolsch Style 3.5 100 5
Heineken Light 3.3 100 7
Lagunitas DayTime IPA 4 100 NA
Miller High Life Light 4.1 110 6
Bud Light 4.2 110 7
Busch 4.3 110 7
Pabst Blue Ribbon Easy 3.8 110 8
Bud Ice 5.5 120 4
Michelob Golden 4.6 120 7
Michelob Light 4.1 120 9
Sam Adams Light 4.3 120 NA
Guinness Draught Stout 4.2 130 10
Bud Light Platinum 6 140 4
Busch Ice 5.9 140 4
Allagash Saison 6.1 140 5
Dogfish Head SeaQuench Session Sour 4.9 140 8
Founders All Day IPA Session Ale 4.7 140 11
Heineken 5 140 11
Miller Genuine Draft 4.7 140 12
Miller High Life 4.6 140 12
Pabst Blue Ribbon Original 4.8 140 12
Sufferfest Head Start Stout 4.5 140 12
New Belgium Dayblazer Easygoing Ale 4.8 140 NA
New Belgium Slow Ride Session IPA 4.5 140 NA
Budweiser 5 150 11
Allagash White 5.2 150 12
Coors Banquet 5 150 12
Sierra Nevada Sierraveza 5 150 13
Corona Extra 4.6 150 14
Michelob Lager 4.8 160 14
Corona Familiar 4.8 160 15
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale 5.2 160 NA
Sufferfest FKT Pale Ale 5.5 170 13
Blue Moon Belgian White 5.4 170 14
Sierra Nevada Sidecar Orange IPA 6.8 170 14
Sufferfest Flyby Pilsner 5.1 170 14
Shock Top Belgian White 5.2 170 15
Bell’s Amber Ale 5.8 180 16
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 5.6 180 17
Samuel Adams Boston Lager 5 180 NA
Samuel Adams New England Pale Ale 5.5 180 NA
Bell’s Official Hazy India Pale Ale 6.4 190 12
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA 6 190 17
Budweiser Copper Lager 6.2 200 16
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA 7 200 NA
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA 6.5 200 NA
Dogfish Head American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA 7 210 16
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale 7 210 17
Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA 6.7 210 21
Sierra Nevada West Coast Style Stout 5.8 210 22
Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout 6 220 23
Allagash Black 7.4 230 20
Allagash Tripel 9.1 240 13
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA 7.2 240 14
New Belgium Trippel 8.5 240 NA
Allagash Curieux 10.4 260 12
Victory Golden Monkey 9.5 260 NA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA 9 290 26
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Triple IPA 9.6 310 30

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Wine (6 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
FitVine Prosecco 11 110 4 1
Carlo Rossi White Zinfandel* 8 110 10 6
Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc 11.6 120 1 1
Yellow Tail Super Crisp Chardonnay 11.7 120 1 1
Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio 11.9 120 2 2
Yellow Tail Riesling 11.3 120 2 2
Carlo Rossi Sweet Rosé* 9.2 120 8 6
Yellow Tail Moscato 7.5 120 10 11
Yellow Tail Pink Moscato 7.5 120 10 11
Carlo Rossi Pink Moscato Sangria* 6.5 120 14 12
Carlo Rossi Moscato Sangria* 6.8 120 16 12
FitVine Pinot Grigio 13.4 130 3 0
FitVine Rosé 12.4 130 3 0
Yellow Tail Chardonnay 13.2 130 1 1
Sutter Home White Zinfandel NA 130 10 NA
Sutter Home Moscato Sangria NA 130 17 NA
FitVine Chardonnay 13.4 140 3 0
FitVine Sauvignon Blanc 13.4 140 3 0
FitVine Pinot Noir 13.9 140 4 0
FitVine Cabernet Sauvignon 13.9 140 5 0
FitVine Syrah 13.9 140 5 0
Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon 13.9 140 1 1
Yellow Tail Merlot 13.9 140 1 1
Yellow Tail Pinot Noir 14 140 1 1
Yellow Tail Shiraz 13.9 140 1 1
Yellow Tail Shiraz Cabernet 13.8 140 1 1
Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc* 12 140 5 1
Carlo Rossi Cabernet Sauvignon* 12.9 140 6 1
Barefoot Rosé* 10.5 140 11 6
Barefoot White Zinfandel* 9 140 12 7
Sutter Home Chardonnay NA 140 5 NA
Sutter Home Merlot NA 140 5 NA
Sutter Home Pinot Grigio NA 140 5 NA
Sutter Home Pinot Noir NA 140 5 NA
Sutter Home Rosé NA 140 5 NA
Barefoot Carbernet Sauvignon* 12.7 150 6 1
Barefoot Malbec* 13 150 6 1
Barefoot Chardonnay* 13 150 6 2
Barefoot Pinot Noir* 13 150 6 2
Barefoot Pinot Grigio* 12 150 7 2
Yellow Tail Sangria 11.5 150 10 11
Barefoot Riesling* 8 150 18 13
Carlo Rossi Sweet Red* 8 150 19 14
Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc NA 150 3 NA
Sutter Home Zinfandel NA 150 5 NA
Sutter Home Malbec NA 150 6 NA
Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon NA 150 7 NA
Sutter Home Moscato NA 150 14 NA
Barefoot Merlot* 13.5 160 6 1
Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco NA 160 9 5
Cupcake Vineyards Riesling NA 160 11 7
Carlo Rossi Chardonnay* 12 160 12 8
Barefoot Moscato* 9 160 17 12
Barefoot Pink Moscato* 9 160 18 13
Sutter Home Riesling NA 160 9 NA
Sutter Home Sweet Red NA 160 10 NA
Sutter Home Pink Moscato NA 160 16 NA
Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Grigio NA 170 6 1
Cupcake Vineyards Rosé NA 170 6 1
Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc NA 170 6 1
Carlo Rossi Red Sangria* 10 170 22 17
Sutter Home Sangria NA 170 14 NA
Sutter Home Red Moscato NA 170 16 NA
Cupcake Vineyards Malbec NA 180 8 0
Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay NA 180 6 1
Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon NA 180 8 1
Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Noir NA 180 8 1
Cupcake Vineyards Petite Sirah NA 180 8 2
Cupcake Vineyards Moscato NA 180 18 13
Cupcake Vineyards Merlot NA 190 8 1
Cupcake Vineyards Shiraz NA 190 8 1

*Barefoot and Carlo Rossi wines may vary by roughly 10 calories per serving. Calories listed reflect the low end of the range.

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Liquor (1.5 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
Gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey, any brand, 80 proof 40 100 0 0
Bombay Sapphire Gin 47 110 0 0
Bulleit Bourbon or Rye 45 110 0 0
Gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey, any brand, 100 proof 50 120 0 0
Booker’s Bourbon 62.5 150 0 0

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Liqueur (1.5 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
Baileys Almande Almondmilk Liqueur 13 70 NA 6
DeKuyper Peachtree Peach Schnapps 15 80 10 10
Kahlúa 20 130 20 20
Baileys Original Irish Cream 17 140 11 9
Cointreau 40 140 10 10

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Hard Cider (12 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
Crispin Pearsecco 4.5 140 9 7
Angry Orchard Stone Dry 5.5 150 11 7
Crispin Rosé 5 160 13 10
Crispin Brut 5.5 170 13 10
Crispin Browns Lane 5.8 170 14 12
Angry Orchard Rosé 5.5 170 17 12
Crispin Original 5 170 15 13
Crispin Pacific Pear 4.5 170 18 15
Crispin Blackberry Pear 5 180 16 13
Stella Artois Cidre 4.5 180 22 16
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple 5 190 24 20
Crispin Honey Crisp 6.5 200 16 14
Crispin The Saint 6.9 230 20 17

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Hard Seltzer, all flavors (12 oz.)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
Smirnoff 4.5 90 1 0
Bon & Viv 4.5 90 1-2 0
Henry’s 4.2 90 2 0
Truly 5 100 2 1
White Claw 5 100 2 2
Nauti 4.5 100 4 1-2
Pabst Blue Ribbon Stronger Seltzer 8 230 3 1

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Flavored Malt Beverages (12 oz., unless noted)

 % Calories Carbs Sugar
Redd’s Apple Ale 5 170 17 12
Henry’s Hard Lemon Lime Soda 4.2 190 26 24
Henry’s Hard Orange Soda 4.2 190 28 24
Ritas Sangria Spritz Strawberry Blueberry 6 200 20 NA
Ritas Sangria Spritz Pear Orange 6 200 21 NA
Ritas Lemon-Ade-Rita (8 oz.) 8 200 23 NA
Ritas Mang-O-Rita (8 oz.) 8 200 23 NA
Ritas Water-Melon-Rita (8 oz.) 8 200 23 NA
Ritas Straw-Ber-Rita (8 oz.) 8 200 24 NA
Ritas Rosé Spritz White Peach 6 210 23 NA
Henry’s Hard Grape Soda 4.2 220 35 33
Ritas Lime-A-Rita (8 oz.) 8 220 29 NA
Best Damn Root Beer 5.5 240 33 NA
Best Damn Cream Soda 5.5 260 38 NA
Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale 8 270 30 26
Ritas Coco-Nut-Rita (25 oz.) 8 590 66 NA
Ritas Cherry-Lime-Rita (25 oz.) 8 590 67 NA
Ritas Grape-Fruit-Rita (25 oz.) 8 600 70 NA
Ritas Peach-A-Rita (25 oz.) 8 600 71 NA
Ritas Grape-A-Rita (25 oz.) 8 610 73 NA

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Notes: NA means that the number is not available. Most calories have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percent alcohol by volume may vary slightly from year to year for some wines and other drinks. Sugar is grams of total sugar. Many beers do not disclose sugar content.

Sources: company information and USDA.

The information in this post first appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes bathing suit season. No wonder then that brewers have stepped up the advertising for their ultra-light beers. These low-cal drinks are billed as the answer for anyone looking to throw back a brew or two without turning their rock hard abs to flab. The commercials for them show off unspeakably fit men and women living life to its fullest without depriving themselves of their favorite frosty beverage, and each successive ad seems to push a new beer with fewer and fewer calories.

Enter the world of “ultra light” beer.

Light beer as we know it has been around for a long time, with the categories first big push coming with Miller Lite’s “Tastes great!/Less filling!” ads. The arms race has only heated up since then, with brewing houses competing for the lowest calorie count. But light beers have been dinged as watery, tasteless, bland, and not satisfying for nearly as long as they’ve been around. So this new breed of ultra-lights would seem to beg the question, at what point does it stop being beer and start being boozy water?

Fox BYO decided to find the answer by conducting a tasting of some of the lowest calorie beers on the market. The results are below, in order of highest calorie count to lowest. None of them will satisfy craft beer lovers, but there were some surprises in the bunch.

Michelob Ultra – At 96 calories, it’s one of the heavier beers in the tasting and it does carry slightly more beer flavor than the others. Like them, it’s a crisp pale yellow and has some sweet corn and grain aromas and flavors. Michelob Ultra differs slightly from the rest in that it also exhibits some citrus flavor, but there’s a bitter aftertaste as well. With 4 percent alcohol by volume and a few more calories than the other bottles we tried, most expected it to be the odds-on favorite. While that wasn’t the case, it did have the best mouth feel, with a much less watery texture than the competition. It was pretty tasty eaten with salt & vinegar potato chips, but that seems like it might be missing the point of drinking this category of beers.

MGD 64 – At 2.8 percent alcohol, this isn’t exactly the beer to chug when trying to forget your troubles, but the pale gold liquid isn’t half-bad. It’s sweet, clean and crisp, but has virtually no body or complexity to it. Slightly watery and heavy on the carbonation, MGD 64 is a pretty easy drink that’d probably hit the right spot on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, it seems like it was tailor-made to enforce a diet, as salty snacks like pretzels or chips bring out the worst flavors in it – revealing almost metallic notes in what is otherwise a passable light beer. It’s one of the best of the bunch, and your best bet if for some reason you feel the need to go for a run and crack a beer immediately afterward.

Beck’s Premier Light – Tied with MGD 64 on the calorie and alcohol content front, Beck’s edges MGD out in flavor. With a bone white head and a ton of fizz, this bottle maintains some semblance of beer character, featuring a light hops bite and some nice malty sweetness. It still doesn’t come close to the greatest beers of the world, but it’d definitely be a decent pick to balance out the requisite three dogs downed before a baseball game.

Budweiser Select 55 – Amazingly, at only 55 calories, it looks like beer. A crisp golden pour with a nice pure white head. It smells faintly of grain, and comes across as a muted version of standard Bud. That’s where the resemblance ends, however. Apart from some faint bitterness, the heavy carbonation covers any real beer flavor. Some slight yeasty grain notes come through, but you can’t shake the feeling that you’re drinking mineral water. There are far better ways to watch your girlish figure.

Beer is probably one of the most popular drinks in the UK, from IPAs to Malts and Hops, nothing beats a much-needed pint on a Friday down your local.

However, if you’re looking to cut back on the calories, then unfortunately this means beer, or does it? Some might completely turn their noses up at the sound of light beer, but if you really think you can’t go cold turkey, then we urge you to give it a try.

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Admittedly, light beer isn’t going to taste the same as a full-bodied beer, but at around 100 calories each, they’ll provide a refreshing taste for you to enjoy on the weekend and not feel guilty about ruining your diet every week. Naturally, their alcohol content is a little lower, too, with most light beers containing less than 5% volume.

If you’re still not convinced by the idea of light beer, then opting for a lighter version of an existing beer you drink is a good place to start. For example, Budweiser and Coors both offer a light version of their beers which are very popular and still retain much of the taste drinkers know and love.

If you’re feeling brave, we’ve also picked out a few lesser known, independent brands of light beer that offer a great alternative taste. Check out our list to see what takes your fancy.

1. Bud Light

The classic taste just with fewer calories

Specifications

Best for: Best tasting Alcohol content: 3.5% Calories: 127 Taste: Lighter, refreshing version of the original

Reasons to buy

+Balanced, light body+Low alcohol volume

Reasons to avoid

-Naturally tastes a little bland compared to the original

For those transitioning over to light beers, then Bud Light is a good place to start. Of course it is never going to taste as good as the original, but the hints are there, and many even prefer the lighter bodied, refreshing taste.

It has a slightly sweet taste to it which some like and others don’t, but it’s low in calories and low in alcohol volume which is favourable for those trying to cut back on drinking.

2. Coors Light

Crisp, clean and refreshing

Best for: Refreshing Alcohol content: 4.2% Calories: 116 Taste: Slightly nutty +Easy to drink+Hints of malt and hop -Dry aftertaste

Those who have already started trying light beers have said that Coors Light is one of the easiest and most pleasant to drink. You can still taste hints of malts and hops, but it remains lighter-bodied and refreshing to drink – perfect for a summer’s day.

3. Sam Adams Light

Experience a slightly more complex flavour in this light beer

Best for: Range of flavours Alcohol content: 4.9% Calories: 119 Taste: Fruity +Very flavoursome for a light beer+Bitter finish -An acquired taste

For those who think all light beers are bland and flavourless, then Sam Adams is certainly worth a try. Customers have complemented this beer for its clear spectrum of aromas and flavours that aren’t so distinct in other light beers.

Hints of fruit, caramel, malt and sweetness are said to come through nicely, albeit not as fully as in a standard beer. If you like bitters then you might find Sam Adams to be to your taste, and if you’re looking for a light beer you can still relax with and enjoy drinking, we expect you might enjoy this one.

4. Guinness Draught

The closest you’ll get to the real thing

Best for: Guinness lovers Alcohol content: 4.1% Calories: 125 Taste: Creamy and malty +Pours and sets just like Guinness+Easier to drink than regular Guinness -Not everyone’s type of beer

Guinness lovers will rejoice at the fact they don’t have to give up their favourite tipple as you can now enjoy Guinness Draught as a lighter version of the beer. Most have been very impressed with the similarities in taste; with some even saying it goes down a lot smoother than regular Guinness, which is usually quite a heavy drink.

It is said to be quite obviously lighter-bodied, but overall it pours and settles the same so you may not even notice the difference! Unfortunately this won’t be of help if you didn’t like Guinness to begin with, but now may be the time to try it.

5. Kirin Ichiban Light

Citrusy and sweet, this light beer is easy to drink

Best for: Sweet taste Alcohol content: 4.6% Calories: 127 Taste: Sweet and light with a dry finish +Easy to drink+Aromatic – A bit sickly for some

This light beer has a somewhat unique taste, with many commenting on its Japanese aroma which is both fruity and sweet. Similarly to other light beers, the consistency is said to be quite watery, but is favourable when ice cold.

A malty finish can be found in this light beer, with a slightly dry aftertaste but for the most part a sweet taste is prominent which those who don’t like blander beers like Bud or Coors Light find a nice change.

6. Chang beer

Easy to drink with a light refreshing taste

Best for: Easy drinking Alcohol content: 5% Calories: 156 Taste: Light and sweet +Light taste+High alcohol volume – High in calories

If you like Coors Light, then this is another light beer recommended for you. It has a light taste which is best served ice cold and it has one of the highest alcohol contents on the list.

This is far from a full-bodied beer so those who are trying light beer for the first time are unlikely to appreciate it, but on a summer’s day, this beer is said to go down very well.

7. Skinny Brands Lager

A vegan and gluten free beer

Best for: Lowest calorie Alcohol content: 4% Calories: 89 Taste: Crisp +Gluten free +Lowest in calories -Tastes best with some added garnish

This new brand of lager has created a game changer in this totally vegan, gluten free beer which comes in at just 89 calories per bottle, and people actually like it! It is said to be very easy to drink and suggested as a good BBQ beer for the summer.

Recommended to be served ice cold, this beer is said to quench your thirst and give you the pleasure of drinking beer without gaining the belly. The hints of citrus would be complemented by garnishing the beer with lime or orange.

America’s 26 top-selling beers show that the country still likes a cold one now and then

Colman Andrews and Grant Suneson 24/7 Wall Street Published 6:00 AM EDT Oct 17, 2018 Americans love beer. Some 40% of drinkers in the U.S. list the hoppy concoction as their alcoholic beverage of choice. U.S. beer consumption totaled nearly 75 litres per person in 2016 alone.     A large portion of the beer consumed comes from major beer distributors such as Molson Coors Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev. These are the types of beers you will likely see advertised during sporting events on TV — brews like Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Millions of barrels of these beers are shipped across the country each year.     24/7 Wall St. reviewed shipping data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, a U.S. brewing industry trade publisher, to determine America’s 26 top selling beers. shironosov / iStock

Americans love beer. Some 40 percent of drinkers in the U.S. list the hoppy concoction as their alcoholic beverage of choice. U.S. beer consumption totaled nearly 75 litres per person in 2016 alone.

A large portion of the beer consumed comes from major beer distributors such as Molson Coors Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev. These are the types of beers you will likely see advertised during sporting events on TV — brews like Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Millions of barrels of these beers are shipped across the country each year.

24/7 Wall Street reviewed shipping data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, a U.S. brewing industry trade publisher, to determine America’s 26 top selling beers.

Though these large American brews sell millions of barrels a year, many are waning in popularity. Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights, told 24/7 Wall St. that while these familiar beers from large brewers have fallen in favor, two major segments of the American beer market have taken their place.

“The two main areas of the industry that have gained in decade have been craft and Mexican imports,” Steinman said. Many American beer consumers want to try new beverages, leading to a rise in craft beer sales, though that has leveled off over the past few years, Steinman added.

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The rising demand for beer brands from Mexico has vaulted lagers like like Modelo and Corona up the list of America’s favorite beers. These Mexican imports have largely avoided the sales decline that has been common among beers like Miller Lite or Bud Light, instead posting substantial year-over-year growth. According to Steinman, three reasons are behind the increased demand for Mexican beers: a growing Hispanic population in the United States, effective marketing campaigns, and the brands’ broadening appeal with the general market.

Overall, total U.S. beer shipments were down roughly 1 percent in 2017 and look to be headed that way in 2018 as well, according to Steinman. This comes after three consecutive years of modest growth in 2014, 2015, and 2016. This slight dip in beer shipments may be attributable to the rise in popularity of alternate alcoholic drinks.

According to a Gallup poll, more than a quarter of American drinkers listed wine as their preferred beverage — the largest share in the poll’s 25 year history. Spiked seltzers, such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade, are also cutting into the consumption of legacy beer brands, particularly light beer. Many spiked seltzer brands had double digit percentage point growth in the last year, according to Steinman.

24/7 Wall Street reviewed domestic shipping volume data provided by industry advocacy group Beer Marketer’s Insights to identify America’s biggest beer brands.

26. Guinness     • Parent company: Diageo     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.1 million     • Change from 2016: 2.3%     • Market share: 0.5%     While Americans typically prefer domestic beers, this Irish brew sells well. The brewer shipped over 1 million barrels of Guinness in the U.S. market in 2017 — including the Guinness Stout, which made the brewery famous. Americans also tend to prefer lighter lagers, but Guinness is best known for its dark draught, described by Guinness as “perfect balance of bitter and sweet.” kulicki / Getty Images

26. Guinness

• Parent company: Diageo
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.1 million
• Change from 2016: 2.3 percent
• Market share: 0.5 percent

While Americans typically prefer domestic beers, this Irish brew sells well. The brewer shipped over 1 million barrels of Guinness in the U.S. market in 2017 — including the Guinness Stout, which made the brewery famous. Americans also tend to prefer lighter lagers, but Guinness is best known for its dark draught, described by Guinness as “perfect balance of bitter and sweet.”

25. Milwaukee’s Best Ice

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.2 million
• Change from 2016: -9.7 percent
• Market share: 0.5 percent

Milwaukee’s Best Ice is one of several ice-style lagers that rank among America’s favorite beer brands. As the name suggests, ice beers are chilled to below freezing during the brewing process, forming ice crystals that supposedly imbue the brew with a smoother flavor. In the case of Milwaukee’s Best Ice, it also increases the alcohol content by more than a full percentage point to 5.9 percent, compared to Milwaukee’s Best Premium.

24. Corona Light     • Parent company: Constellation Brands     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.2 million     • Change from 2016: 1.7%     • Market share: 0.6%     Along with many other Mexican-style lagers, Corona Light is exploding in popularity in America. Not only does the U.S.’s growing Hispanic population often prefer to stick with familiar beers, but the brand is also enjoying increased popularity across the general population. Corona Light is a lower calorie alternative — 99 calories per 12 oz. bottle — to the 149 calories in Corona Extra. Austin Kirk / Flickr

24. Corona Light

• Parent company: Constellation Brands
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.2 million
• Change from 2016: 1.7 percent
• Market share: 0.6 percent

Along with many other Mexican-style lagers, Corona Light is exploding in popularity in America. Not only does the U.S.’s growing Hispanic population often prefer to stick with familiar beers, but the brand is also enjoying increased popularity across the general population. Corona Light is a lower calorie alternative — 99 calories per 12 oz. bottle — to the 149 calories in Corona Extra.

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23. Icehouse

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.3 million
• Change from 2016: -7.0 percent
• Market share: 0.6 percent

In Texas, an icehouse is an old-style neighborhood tavern, at least partially open to the outside. However, the Icehouse lager, brewed by Molson Coors Brewing Co., has nothing to do with Texas. Its name indicates that it’s an ice beer, in fact the first one produced in America, introduced in 1993.

22. Steel Reserve

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.6 million
• Change from 2016: -1.5 percent
• Market share: 0.8 percent

Steel Reserve differs from many of the beers on this list because of its high alcohol content. Many of America’s favorite brews hover around 5 percent alcohol by volume. Steel Reserve has 8.1 percent ABV and is considered a malt liquor.

21. Coors Banquet

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 1.7 million
• Change from 2016: 2.7 percent
• Market share: 0.8 percent

When Albert Coors founded his brewery in Golden, Colorado in 1873, he called his first beer Golden Lager. Miners working in the area ate heartily when the working day was done, and the locally produced beer was a favorite at their banquets. After Prohibition, the Coors company added the name “Banquet” to the lager label in honor of those miners’ feasts. Still produced only in Golden, the beer is brewed with Rocky Mountain water and locally grown Moravian barley.

20. Dos Equis

• Parent company: Heineken International
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.0 million
• Change from 2016: -1.3 percent
• Market share: 0.9 percent

Dos Equis is a combination of German brewing techniques and Mexican ingredients. In the late 19th century, Wilhelm Hasse founded a brewery in Veracruz, Mexico. The brand was named in honor of the upcoming 20th century, as the Roman numeral XX means 20. Dos Equis is a pilsner-style beer.

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19. Blue Moon Belgian White     • Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.1 million     • Change from 2016: -0.2%     • Market share: 1.0%     Blue Moon Belgian White is a Belgian-style wheat ale, a genre characterized by a cloudy appearance (it’s unfiltered), an orange-peel citrusy tang, and a bit of spice, often coriander. The beer has been the subject of controversy and even a lawsuit because it’s marketed as if it were a craft beer when in fact it’s mass-produced by Molson Coors, the world’s third largest brewing company.     ALSO READ: Teams With the Most Hall of Famers brostad / Flickr

19. Blue Moon Belgian White

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.1 million
• Change from 2016: -0.2 percent
• Market share: 1.0 percent

Blue Moon Belgian White is a Belgian-style wheat ale, a genre characterized by a cloudy appearance (it’s unfiltered), an orange-peel citrusy tang, and a bit of spice, often coriander. The beer has been the subject of controversy and even a lawsuit because it’s marketed as if it were a craft beer when in fact it’s mass-produced by Molson Coors, the world’s third largest brewing company.

18. Yuengling Lager

Yuengling is one of the few major American brewers that is still family owned. The Pennsylvania-based brewery is also the oldest in America, making beer for nearly 200 years. It still ranks in the top 20 beer brands in terms of barrels shipped, an impressive feat considering that it’s only available in the eastern United States.

17. Natural Ice

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.4 million
• Change from 2016: -8.5 percent
• Market share: 1.1 percent

An ice-brewed lager made with both malted barley and corn, Natural Ice is a spinoff from Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light — popularly known as Natty. Slightly higher in alcohol content than the company’s Bud Ice (5.9 percent vs. 5.5 percent ABV), it is considered by reviewers to be bland but clean in flavor.

16. Pabst Blue Ribbon     • Parent company: Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.5 million     • Change from 2016: -0.6%     • Market share: 1.2%     Pabst Blue Ribbon has gained a reputation as a beer for so-called hipsters. But the real reason for its recent sales resurgence may have more to do with price. During the recession, PBR sales picked up, as it served as a cheap alternative at the bar. As the economy has picked up, sales have flattened for the pilsner. https://www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrieh116/

16. Pabst Blue Ribbon

• Parent company: Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.5 million
• Change from 2016: -0.6 percent
• Market share: 1.2 percent

Pabst Blue Ribbon has gained a reputation as a beer for so-called hipsters. But the real reason for its recent sales resurgence may have more to do with price. During the recession, PBR sales picked up, as it served as a cheap alternative at the bar. As the economy has picked up, sales have flattened for the pilsner.

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15. Bud Ice

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.6 million
• Change from 2016: 2.0 percent
• Market share: 1.2 percent

Though beer critics have called Bud Ice (along with other ice beers) lacking in personality, this ice-brewed sibling of Bud Light — America’s best-selling beer — has shipped an increasing amount of barrels each year since 2014. It’s comparatively low in calories for a non-light beer, with 123 per 12-ounce bottle (the company’s Natural Ice has 130).

14. Stella Artois

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 2.7 million
• Change from 2016: 10.9 percent
• Market share: 1.3 percent

Stella Artois is one of the oldest beers available in America, as its roots stretch back about three centuries to Leuven, Belgium. Just recently, it has become one of the fastest-growing beers in the U.S. Its shipments have grown by more than 10 percent from 2016 to 2017, one of the biggest growths of any major beer.

13. Miller High Life

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 3.5 million
• Change from 2016: -1.5 percent
• Market share: 1.6 percent

A golden pilsner, this popular beer was created in 1903 by brewer Frederick Miller. Miller supposedly gave it its name because he believed that the “high life,” i.e. good life, should be available even to those who could only afford to drink beer. To drive home his point, he added the slogan, “The Champagne of Beers,” to the label. Bottled beer was uncommon when the brand launched, and Miller gave his bottles long necks reminiscent of Champagne bottles. At various times in its history, the beer also had Champagne-style foil coverings over the bottlecaps.

12. Keystone Light

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 3.5 million
• Change from 2016: 6.3 percent
• Market share: 1.6 percent

Keystone is one of six light beers that shipped over 3 million barrels of beer in the U.S. in 2017. But unlike most other light beers, Keystone Light shipments increased in 2017 compared to the year before. The 101-calorie light beer has outsold all other Keystone beers — the others shipped less than 1 million barrels.

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11. Heineken     • Parent company: Heineken International     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 4.0 million     • Change from 2016: -0.9%     • Market share: 1.8%     This 154-year-old Dutch brewery has been ranked for the past two years as the world’s third most valuable beer brand — after Bud Light and Budweiser — by Brand Finance. Though it’s sometimes described as having a skunky aroma, it remains one of the world’s most popular lagers, and it has been hailed for its consistency.     ALSO READ: Towns in Every State Where You May Not Get to the Hospital in Time Gerard Koudenburg / .com

11. Heineken

• Parent company: Heineken International
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 4.0 million
• Change from 2016: -0.9 percent
• Market share: 1.8 percent

This 154-year-old Dutch brewery has been ranked for the past two years as the world’s third most valuable beer brand — after Bud Light and Budweiser — by Brand Finance. Though it’s sometimes described as having a skunky aroma, it remains one of the world’s most popular lagers, and it has been hailed for its consistency.

10. Busch

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 4.7 million
• Change from 2016: -2.6 percent
• Market share: 2.2 percent

Busch is one of six beers from Anheuser-Busch InBev that rank among the top 10 beers in terms of U.S. shipments. Though there is a Busch Light, Busch is also relatively low in calories compared to other similar brews. It has just 114 calories and 4.3 percent alcohol by volume.

9. Busch Light

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 6.4 million
• Change from 2016: 0.4 percent
• Market share: 3.0 percent

The light version of Busch, this beer has 95 calories, fewer than all but a handful of other light beers. Reviews describe it as watery, flavorless, and boring, but its sales figures suggest that it has a good following.

8. Natural Light     • Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 6.5 million     • Change from 2016: -1.9%     • Market share: 3.0%     Natural Light — or Natty Light for many college students in the U.S. — is one of the lightest beers on the market. One Natural Light contains just 95 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs. Many drinkers will also tell you that Natural Light is also light on taste. walmart.com

8. Natural Light

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 6.5 million
• Change from 2016: -1.9 percent
• Market share: 3.0 percent

Natural Light — or Natty Light for many college students in the U.S. — is one of the lightest beers on the market. One Natural Light contains just 95 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs. Many drinkers will also tell you that Natural Light is also light on taste.

7. Modelo Especial

• Parent company: Constellation Brands
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 7.2 million
• Change from 2016: 17.4 percent
• Market share: 3.3 percent

Modelo Especial is the second fastest growing major beer brand over the past decade. In 2007, Constellation Brands shipped 1.6 million barrels of the Mexican pilsner-style lager in the U.S. Ten years later, the company shipped 7.2 million barrels. First brewed in 1966, the brand is available in both bottles and cans. It’s the most popular canned beer in Mexico today.

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6. Michelob Ultra

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 7.7 million
• Change from 2016: 21.3 percent
• Market share: 3.6 percent

Michelob Ultra has experienced greater growth from 2016 to 2017 than any other major beer in the U.S. market. The light lager’s shipments increased from 6.4 million in 2016 to 7.7 million last year, an increase of more than 21 percent. Over the past 10 years, Michelob Ultra sales have more than doubled. The lager is marketed as fitting a healthier lifestyle because of its lower calorie and carb count compared to other similar beers. Its commercials depict toned and trim people running, hiking, and biking before popping open bottles of Michelob Ultra.

5. Corona Extra     • Parent company: Constellation Brands     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 8.7 million     • Change from 2016: 3.6%     • Market share: 4.1%     Of the five most popular beers in America, Corona Extra was the only one to ship more beer in 2017 than it did the previous year. First brewed in Mexico City in 1925, this clear golden pilsner is the best selling beer in Mexico and the country’s leading exported beer. Corona Extra, along with Modelo Especial, are both a part of Constellation Brands.     ALSO READ: Most Common Last Names in the US N-Lange.de / Wikimedia Commons

5. Corona Extra

• Parent company: Constellation Brands
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 8.7 million
• Change from 2016: 3.6 percent
• Market share: 4.1 percent

Of the five most popular beers in America, Corona Extra was the only one to ship more beer in 2017 than it did the previous year. First brewed in Mexico City in 1925, this clear golden pilsner is the best selling beer in Mexico and the country’s leading exported beer. Corona Extra, along with Modelo Especial, are both a part of Constellation Brands.

4. Miller Lite

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 13.1 million
• Change from 2016: -2.8 percent
• Market share: 6.1 percent

After debuting in 1975, Miller Lite hit its sales peak in 1990, shipping 19 million barrels. These days, Molson Coors is shipping about 13.1 million barrels per year. Miller Lite, like many other large American brews, is losing a chunk of its market share to increasingly popular imports and craft beer.

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3. Budweiser

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 13.3 million
• Change from 2016: -7.5 percent
• Market share: 6.2 percent

First produced in 1876, the self-styled “King of Beers” is distributed in more than 70 countries and is one of the world’s best-selling brews. The brand brags about being “beechwood aged.” This doesn’t mean that it’s aged in beechwood casks the way wine is aged in oak. The process involves adding pieces of beechwood to the lagering tanks. Some of the yeast involved in the fermenting process collects on the wood and increases the yeast’s contact with the beer. This helps reduce fermentation by-products that may lend an undesirable flavor to the beer.

2. Coors Light     • Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company     • Barrels shipped in 2017: 16.5 million     • Change from 2016: -4.1%     • Market share: 7.7%     For many years, Coors beer was only available in parts of the western United States, giving it a mystique that other major beer brewers couldn’t match. That mystique has since faded, as Coors Light and other products from the brewery became available in larger swaths of the country in the 1980s before becoming nationally available in 1991. Now, Coors Light is the second most popular beer in the country, though it comes nowhere close to number one. GreenPimp / Getty Images

• Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 16.5 million
• Change from 2016: -4.1 percent
• Market share: 7.7 percent

For many years, Coors beer was only available in parts of the western United States, giving it a mystique that other major beer brewers couldn’t match. That mystique has since faded, as Coors Light and other products from the brewery became available in larger swaths of the country in the 1980s before becoming nationally available in 1991. Now, Coors Light is the second most popular beer in the country, though it comes nowhere close to number one.

• Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
• Barrels shipped in 2017: 33.0 million
• Change from 2016: -6.2 percent
• Market share: 15.4 percent

Bud Light, first sold nationwide in 1982, is by far America’s favorite beer. Its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, shipped more than 33 million barrels of the light lager in 2017 — double the shipments of the next most popular beer. Shipments of Bud Light, however, dropped by 2.2 million barrels from 2016. Reviewers commonly describe it as thin and watery, but also drinkable and refreshing.

More: What are the best-selling beers in America? Budweiser, Coors Light, Bud Light top list

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Published 6:00 AM EDT Oct 17, 2018


We beer folks—those interested enough in the stuff to not just drink, but also to talk and read about it—we have a few elephants in the taproom. For example: Most of us are white. Many of us drink to excess. And lots of us are fatter than we ought to be.

Oh, not you, big guy. I mean the rest of us.

More diplomatically: Many of us drink more than we should, more often we should, and are more or less heedless of what it does to our health.

Worse still, based on a somewhat rosy and arguably irresponsible view of the relevant science, some of us argue that it is healthy. This is an ongoing narrative in the beer world: that it’s really good for us. Often there are studies cited—or, more often, mentioned without citation—along with nonsense such as the assertion (which is false) that people in the Middle Ages drank beer instead of water because it was safer. Or they may note that beer has no fat—which is irrelevant.

Often this beer-is-healthy narrative comes from folks with a vested interest in us buying more beer. So let me tell you my own bias: I don’t want beer to be healthy. Treating beer like a tonic robs me of my precious sin. I want it to be indulgent, like bacon. But wanting to be naughty from time to time—er, virtually every evening—isn’t the same as saying I want to get fat. I don’t.

Enshrined prominently in my own Beery Hall of Heroes is a guy named Michael Sweeney, and not only for his very useful blog STL Hops. It’s chiefly because he weighed about 375 pounds the first time I met him in St. Louis to talk beer. The next time I saw him, a couple of years later, I didn’t recognize him. At all. He arrived with fellow scribe Stan Hieronymous at a local pub, and I thought Stan must have brought along his svelte nephew. Mike had dropped 150 pounds.

I asked him how. Simple: He cut way back on beer, and he started hitting the treadmill for an average of one hour per day.

“Beer should be something we all do for pleasure and fun. We shouldn’t take the fun away from beer,” Sweeney told me in an email the other day. “But we can’t ignore that it’s a large amount of calories that people are consuming over three or four pints of a 6.5% beer.”

Four pints of a 6.5% beer would be 1,040 calories, by the way. Now, you could spread that out over a leisurely afternoon and evening to avoid serious drunkenness—but fast or slow, you’ve still consumed 1,040 calories. That’s roughly the same amount you’d get from three hot dogs, including buns and ketchup.

Reality check

Yes, plenty of research suggests there are health benefits to moderate consumption. But beer folks often seem to imply, as if with a wink and a nudge, that of course we all drink moderately, right?

For example: Have you heard the one about how the beer belly is a myth, and beer doesn’t make you fat? Let’s unpack that.

It’s true that alcohol calories don’t go to our fat stores. Instead, they go directly to our bloodstream (via the liver) to be burned as energy. Problem is, our bodies are then burning alcohol calories in place of others—such as the carbs in the beer, or the fat in those wings. So saying beer doesn’t make you fat is caloric sleight of hand, like budget-writing politicians who move money around to hide the pork.

Speaking of pork, nothing like piling on some sausage after a couple of beers. Alcohol—and this is one of my favorite things about it—lowers inhibitions and stimulates appetite. Ask yourself: What do you choose off the menu after a couple of beers, versus what you’d choose when sober?

Look: Maybe you know a few people who truly drink moderately, all the time. Maybe you’re even one of them. Most of the rest of us binge drink at least occasionally. Even among those of us who avoid drunkenness, it’s enlightening to spend a week counting “drink equivalents” as defined by the U.S. government—because your score is likely to be higher than you thought, and because actually counting how much you drink is an uncomfortable thing to do.

That applies to alcohol as well as calories. The beer we drink has more calories than most of us realize—one reason why the U.S. government has included it in new menu rules that will require chain restaurants to disclose the calorie contents of beers they serve. (Among others, these changes frighten pizzerias, which might have to include complicated matrices of size, crust and ingredients on their delivery menus. As my editor Kate said, “God, if ever there were two products I don’t need to know the calories in, it’s pizza and beer.”)

But those rules won’t apply to most of the places we drink or buy beer, so we are free to remain blissfully ignorant. Or, we can guesstimate. There are ways to do it without busting out trigonomic equations or calculators at the pub.

You can use this information to help you limit intake, if you want. Or you can use it as sport, to properly measure your gluttony. As you like. Either way, the numbers are likely to be higher than you expect.

Calculating calories

Alcohol and residual sugars are the two main sources of calories in beer. The alcoholic strength is usually printed on the label, thankfully. But to calculate the sugars you need to know something called “gravity”—essentially, the density of the liquid—before and after fermentation. That’s cool for homebrewers (and here’s a calculator if you really want it), but brewers rarely publish that information. So we need a shortcut, a way to make very good guesstimates.

We can thank LA blogger John Michael Verive from Beer of Tomorrow for creating a very useful chart (above), and the simplest method for calculating calories I’ve ever seen. He also wrote a useful post on this topic a few years ago. Ready? Multiply the ABV by 2.5, then multiply that by the number of ounces in your beer. So:

Ounces (ABV * 2.5) = rough calorie estimate

It’s not totally accurate, but it will put you in the ballpark. For sweeter beers that may have more residual sugars, you should increase the multiplier from 2.5 to 3.

So we can suppose that 9% double IPA you’re drinking has about 270 calories. If you drink two, you’ve consumed the same number of calories as a Big Mac (540). (Not only that, but you’re some unknown percentage chance more likely to beg your designated driver to stop at McDonald’s so you can order one.)

Last night I drank a pale ale (5.7%) and later a helles lager (5.2%). In my mind I had “just a couple of beers” but each was a half-liter (16.9 US ounces), and the very idea of counting their calories irritates me. But this is for science. So I ended up drinking, let’s see, about 460 calories. Or, I drank the equivalent of a bacon double cheeseburger. Which seems a bit unfair, since I didn’t choose to eat one.

If we’re going to understand what we’re consuming, and be responsible for it, then we need to be honest about what it is. Even if we would prefer to charge on heedless of our sin, it’s nice to have a ballpark idea of just how sinful we’re being.

Beer is a food after all, but it’s one of the naughtier ones. Thankfully.

Which Alcohol Packs the Most… and Least…Calories

Cocktails

Most restaurant chains’ mojitos, Moscow mules, and margaritas deliver 200 to 300 calories. Chili’s Strawberry or Mango Patrón Margarita hits 360. But a classic margarita—tequila, lime, triple sec—in a small glass cuts most of the sugar and hovers around 200 calories.

Frozen blended drinks like piña coladas typically range from 500 to 900 calories. That’s what alcohol, sugar, and ice cream or coconut cream will do. A Cheesecake Factory Strawberry Creamsicle spiked milkshake (930 calories) packs more than a day’s saturated fat and an estimated 13 teaspoons of added sugar.

A few cocktails—a classic martini or Manhattan, for example—aren’t likely to do more damage than a 6 oz. glass of wine.

Wine or Beer

Expect around 150 calories in a 6 oz. glass of red or white wine. But a 9 oz. pour has 220. And sangria can hit 200 to 300 calories, thanks to the fruit, juice, liquor, or sugar.

Beer also starts at 150 calories for a 12 oz. can or bottle (100 calories for a light beer). But the calories climb to 200 to 250 in a 16-to-20 oz. draft pour.

Keep in mind: higher-alcohol beers, like Lagunitas IPA or Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, start at around 200 calories for just 12 oz. Ditto for many hard ciders, like Angry Orchard Crisp Apple.

Want more numbers? Find your drink in our chart:

  • Light Beer
  • Beer
  • Flavored Malt Beverages & Hard Sodas
  • Hard Seltzer
  • Hard Cider
  • Wine
  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Liquor & Liqueur
  • Restaurant Mixed Drinks
Light Beer (12 oz.) Calories
Budweiser Select 55 55
Beck’s Premier Light 60
Miller 64 64
Michelob Ultra Amber 90
Busch Light 100
Coors Light 100
Corona Light 100
Kirin Light 100
Michelob Ultra 100
Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus 100
Miller Lite 100
Natural Light 100
Bud Light 110
Miller High Life Light 110
Bud Light Lime 120
Michelob Light 120
Sam Adams Light 120
Beer (12 oz., unless noted) Calories
Busch 110
Bud Ice 120
Abita Purple Haze 130
Abita Strawberry Lager 130
Guinness Draught 130
Natural Ice 130
Rolling Rock 130
Rolling Rock Amber Lager 130
Beck’s Dark 140
Bud Light Platinum 140
Busch Ice 140
Heineken 140
Miller High Life 140
Omission Lager 140
Pabst Blue Ribbon 140
Yuengling Traditional Lager 140
Beck’s 150
Beck’s Oktoberfest 150
Budweiser 150
Corona Extra 150
Founders All Day IPA 150
Kirin Ichiban 150
Landshark Lager 150
Magic Hat #9 150
Michelob Amberbock 150
Shock Top Lemon Shandy 150
Yuengling Black & Tan 150
Allagash Saison 160
Allagash White 160
Beck’s Sapphire 160
Michelob Lager 160
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale 160
Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner 160
Blue Moon Belgian White 170
Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager 170
Budweiser Black Crown 170
Guinness Nitro IPA 170
New Belgium Citradelic Tangerine IPA 170
Redd’s Apple Ale 170
Samuel Adams Summer Ale 170
Shock Top Belgian White 170
Victory Prima Pils 170
Best Damn Apple Ale 180
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale 180
Blue Moon White IPA 180
Omission Pale Ale 180
Samuel Adams Boston Lager 180
Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat 180
Shock Top Raspberry Wheat 180
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 180
Sierra Nevada Porter 180
Lagunitas IPA 190
New Belgium Ranger IPA 190
Samuel Adams Octoberfest 190
Samuel Adams Winter Lager 190
Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA 190
Ballast Point Sculpin India Pale Ale 200
Leffe Blonde (11.2 oz.) 200
Omission IPA 200
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA 200
Sierra Nevada Stout 210
New Belgium Trippel Belgian Style Ale 220
Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale 230
New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA 230
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA 240
Allagash Black Belgian Style Stout 250
Founders Breakfast Stout 270
Victory Golden Monkey 270
Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout 320
Flavored Malt Beverages & Hard Sodas (11-12 oz., unless noted) Calories
Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade 150
Henry’s Hard Orange Soda 190
Bud Light Lime Lemon-Ade-Rita (8 oz.) 200
Bud Light Lime Mang-O-Rita (8 oz.) 200
Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita (8 oz.) 200
Best Damn Cherry Cola 210
Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita Splash 210
Smirnoff Ice Original 210
Bartles & Jaymes Fuzzy Navel 220
Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita (8 oz.) 220
Henry’s Hard Cherry Cola 220
Henry’s Hard Ginger Ale 220
Mike’s Hard Lemonade 220
Mike’s Hard Mango Punch 230
Bartles & Jaymes Margarita 240
Best Damn Root Beer 240
Bartles & Jaymes Piña Colada 250
Hard Seltzer (12 oz.) Calories
Truly Spiked & Sparkling¹ 100
Nauti Seltzer¹ 110
White Claw Hard Seltzer¹ 110
Spiked Seltzer¹ 140
Hard Cider (12 oz.) Calories
Michelob Ultra Light 120
Strongbow Gold Apple 170
Stella Artois Cidre 180
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple 190
Johnny Appleseed 210
Wine (6 oz., unless noted) Calories
Skinnygirl¹ 120
Arbor Mist Chardonnay Peach (8 oz.) 150
Arbor Mist Pinot Grigio White Pear (8 oz.) 150
Red (Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, etc.)¹ 150
White (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, etc.)¹ 150
Arbor Mist White Zinfandel Strawberry (8 oz.) 160
Korbel Brut California Champagne 160
Skinnygirl Sangria 160
Arbor Mist Arborita (8 oz.)¹ 170
Sweet dessert (3.5 oz.) 170
Barefoot Refresh Perfectly Pink Spritzer (8 oz.) 180
White, late harvest 210
Non-Alcoholic (12 oz., unless noted) Calories
Busch NA 60
Coors Non-Alcoholic 60
Fre Alcohol-Removed Wine (6 oz.)¹ 60
O’Doul’s Non-Alcoholic Brew 70
O’Doul’s Amber Non-Alcoholic Brew 90
St. Pauli N.A. 90
Liquor & Liqueur (1.5 oz.) Calories
Pimm’s No. 1 80
Gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey¹ 100
Baileys Irish Cream 140
Créme de menthe 190
Restaurant Mixed Drinks (1 drink) Calories
Red Lobster Manhattan or Martini 160
California Pizza Kitchen Moscow Mule 180
TGI Fridays House Mojito 180
Applebee’s Apple Sangria 220
Red Robin House Margarita 220
Olive Garden Peach Sangria 230
Uno Classic Mojito 240
Applebee’s Blackberry Sangria 270
Yard House Moscow Mule 280
Applebee’s Perfect Patrón Margarita 290
Red Lobster Strawberry Mojito 290
The Cheesecake Factory Pineapple Moscow Mule 290
Chili’s Patrón Margarita 310
Chili’s Blueberry & Pineapple Margarita 340
Chili’s Mango or Strawberry Patrón Margarita 360
Red Robin Long Island Iced Tea 400
The Cheesecake Factory Piña Colada 490
Red Lobster Mudslide 540
Red Robin Blue Moon Beer Shake 650
Red Robin Baileys Irish Cream Shake 720
The Cheesecake Factory Strawberry Creamsicle 930

¹ Average of more than one variety. Note: Most calories are rounded to the nearest 10.

Sources: company information and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Photos: fotolia.com: © mateusz (cocktail), © exclusive-design (wine).

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