Tara Tomaino, RD
T&B Nutrition Director
Alcohol by itself contains 7 calories/gram. In comparison, protein and carbohydrates both contain 4 calories/gram while fat contains 9 calories/gram. Calories in alcoholic drinks can add up fast in a few different ways: 1) If you are consuming shots of alcohol in quick succession 2) If you are consuming drinks mixed with a high-calorie or high-sugar mixer 3) Due to the effects of social pressure or the alcohol itself, you may end up drinking more than anticipated.
Alcohol contributes to weight gain not only from the calories in beverages themselves, but because of the food you may consume while drinking or afterward. If people drink socially they may be eating out at a restaurant or bar, celebrating a holiday, or attending a party. All of these occasions may present food options that are higher in fat, sugar, and calories than most foods prepared at home. Not to mention, alcohol acts as an appetite stimulant which may prompt someone to binge on snack foods or convenience foods like nachos or pizza (AKA “drunk eat”) at the end of the night. Decision making capabilities may also be impaired after drinking leading to unhealthier food choices.
Mixed drinks containing soda, juice, or sugary mixers all contribute to the calorie content of a drink. These calories may be overlooked or not accounted for if they are drank and not eaten. If you are watching your weight and monitoring your calorie consumption, it is important to account for alcohol intake.