How Many Calories in a Beer: Making Smart Choices

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Let’s be honest, you’re not going to get a big nutritional boost from drinking beer, but you’ll probably still drink it anyway. UnityPoint Health dietitian, Tricia Leininger, says that’s OK. However, she wants to arm you with a few tips, so you make better decisions when ordering from the bartender.

Calories in Beer

Calories in beers vary depending on the beer and the maker. Leininger says beer generally has about 150 calories, whereas light beer calories range from 50 to 100 calories for a 12-ounce serving. (By the way, one pint is 16 ounces.)

“Calories in beer come from two components – alcohol and carbohydrates (starches and sugar from unfermented grain),” Leininger says. “The calories in beer are mostly influenced by the alcohol content. Light beer has fewer calories via less alcohol content.”

Leininger says the Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes up to one serving a day of alcohol for women and two servings a day for men. A serving is defined as 12 ounces of beer that is five percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Leininger says if you look at the beer nutrition facts, most domestic beers contain about five percent ABV.

“Another option is to select a non-alcoholic beer, which is less than 0.5 percent ABV per 12 ounce serving. You would have to consume 10 non-alcoholic beers to equal the amount of alcohol in one regular domestic beer,” Leininger says.

She adds you should be aware of beers with higher alcohol content. Specialty brewer beers may contain seven percent ABV, thus a serving size is a smaller eight ounces.

“If you desire a low-carb beer to save on calories, look for wording indicating light beer or calories under 120,” Leininger says.