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Carbs & Calories in Alcohol

By Eliza Martinez

Many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage with dinner or out on the town with friends. However, the calorie and carbohydrate content of alcohol should be taken into consideration when choosing a drink. Besides the various other reasons why drinking too much alcohol is bad for one's health, it can lead to weight gain if consumed to excess.

Beer

Many beer manufacturers cater to those trying to lose or maintain weight by producing light beers. If a person wants have a beer but also reduce the number of calories and carbs, they should choose a light beer. Regular beer has, on average, 146 calories and 13g of carbs per serving, while light beer has an average of 99 calories and 4 to 5g of carbs per serving. Watch out for malt beverages because they can contain up to 38g of carbs. According to the Consumer Federation of America, one serving of beer is 12 oz.

Spirits

Spirits are often called hard liquor, and include gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and brandy. One serving of these are similar at about 97 calories and 0 carbs. Drinking one serving straight or on ice won't wreak havoc on a diet, but going beyond that will add up quickly and derail a lot of hard work. One serving of spirits is 1-1/2 ounces.

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Liqueurs

Liqueurs are flavored spirits, such as Irish cream, coffee flavored creams and cream de menthe. These traditionally have the highest calorie and carb count, weighing in at 8 to 24g of carbs and an average of 188 calories per serving. The One serving of liqueur equals 1-1/2 oz. Most of these are mixed to make cocktails so one can contain an astronomical number of calories and carbs.

Wine and Champagne

The Consumer Federation of America states that one serving of wine is 5 oz. Depending on the color, a serving typically contains 105 to 125 calories and 0.8 to 5g of carbs. Champagne contains 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 carbs. If one sticks to a single serving, this is often a good choice when maintaining or trying to lose weight. One caveat, however. Dessert wines can contain 12 to 14g of carbs.

Cocktails

Cocktails are a diet disaster because they often mix spirits or liqueurs with mixers, upping their calorie and carb count. Popular mixers include soda, margarita mix and juice. Average cocktails contain 140 to 170 or more calories per serving. One won't derail a diet, but making them a habit will prevent weight loss and can even cause weight gain. Weight Watchers cautions dieters to be wary of glass size, as many bars serve more than one portion in a glass.

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