Where Does Alcohol Fit Into a Healthy Diet?

After a winter that seemed to see no end in sight, spring is finally here! There’s nothing quite as refreshing as those first few days in spring when you realize the days are longer, you can enjoy some fresh air and finally meet friends on the patio of your favorite bar!

Not to be a total buzzkil, but have you ever wondered how many calories are in your favorite drink? Are you a beer girl? Do you enjoy a glass (or two) of wine at the end of the day? Maybe you love a fun mixed drink!

Like anything else, alcohol is fine in moderation. And knowledge is power!

Where does alcohol fit into a healthy diet


It’s an exciting time for craft beer; local breweries are popping up in every city. But one word you’ll rarely see on the menu is “light.”

Calorie count in beer is determined by the ABV (alcohol by volume) and the size of your glass. ABV is often listed on the menu or on the side of the bottle, and most beers typically range from 4.5% to 9%. Below is a great chart of ABV vs. glass size. As an example, a pint of lighter craft beer (Lager or Kolsch at 4.5% ABV) will run about 180 calories.


wineWine offers a lower calorie option compared to the beers listed above. The average glass of wine (5 fl oz.) has about 125 calories. I don’t know anyone who measures wine at home so just be mindful of your pour.

It may be easier to think in terms of a bottle. A standard bottle of wine is 25 fl oz., which equals 5 glasses. If two glasses is closer to half a bottle, that adds up to 312 calories.

Mixed Drinks

cocktailsCocktails are hard to generalize because of the variety of ingredients that are used to make them.

A simple mixed drink has 1.5 fl oz. (a ‘jigger’) of liquor, which contribute 95-125 calories to the drink. Try soda water, juice or diet tonic/soda as mixers to save calories.

When ordering a more sophisticated cocktail, use your best judgment by estimating the calories in each ingredient. Of course, factors like the shape and size of the glass (a martini glass holds about 4.5 fl oz) and the amount of ice in your drink can make it difficult to estimate how much of each ingredient is present per sip. When in doubt, just have one and call it done!

There are plenty of drinks that don’t fit into these categories, like malt beverages, hard lemonade, wine coolers, and ciders. While tasty, these drinks are often sugar bombs, and you won’t find that listed on the label or menu. All that sugar, and a relatively low ABV, means they go down pretty easy, so proceed with caution with these, too.


Don’t be discouraged by the numbers. If your favorite drink happens to have a lot of calories, enjoy one or two before switching to a lower calorie option. Moderation is key, and knowing is half the battle!

Now go enjoy a drink – cheers!

Alison is a lover of sports and wellness. She recently decided to take her passion for wellness to the next level by going back to school to become a registered dietitian. Alison hopes to eventually work with kids in patient care. Alison’s hobbies include rooting on our Cincinnati sports teams, yoga, pole fitness, and mud runs. Her biggest passion is helping others and empowering those around her to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Got a question for Alison? Write to writers@strongisoursexy.com. She’d love to hear from you!

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