Maintaining a healthy weight is always a good idea, especially when the holidays come around. While we stuff ourselves like a Christmas goose, there should be other means in which we watch our caloric intake. Understanding the nutritional information about what we consume, especially alcohol like whiskey, is one way to do this.
So, how many calories in whiskey? On average, a single glass of whiskey will be around 105 calories. But, this is for 1½ ounces, or 44ml, 86 proof whiskey. This is considerably less than one 12 ounce bottle of beer but similar to tequila or vodka. Understand, though, the calories will revolve around how you drink it.
That said, take note there’s only healthy-ish alcohol. There is no such thing as “healthy” alcohol. So, while the calorie count is very low in whiskey, it’s not a good idea to drink it in copious amounts on a nightly basis. But, it can provide for a nice warming effect in the winter months or help watch your waistline over the summer.
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Sipping this article:
- How Many Calories in Whiskey?
- The Low Calories in Whiskey
- Calories in whiskey are not the only thing to have in mind…
- Tips to Keep in Mind
Therefore, when you talk about calories, you also have to consider carbohydrates as going hand-in-hand with it. But, it’s important to know the difference between the two, especially if you’re trying to watch your weight and be healthier.
Calories are the amount of energy the average human body acquires from any given food or beverage. The average adult needs 2,000 calories per day, but this is less for those trying to lose weight. When you look at any nutrition fact label, you’ll always see a list of items that includes things like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Each one of these food groups has a specific calorie count associated with it per gram:
- Fat: 9 calories
- Protein: 4 calories
- Alcohol: 7 calories
Then there are carbohydrates. Your body requires these for fuel to burn throughout the day. Carbs are in almost all fruits, grains, veggies and other sugary foods. There are three carb types:
- Dietary Fiber: Dietary fiber is a carb that enzymes within the body can’t break down. These are in lots of seeds, nuts, veggies, fruits and other whole grains.
- Starch: More complex carbs are within starches from things like potatoes, grain, wheat, rice, nuts and other legumes.
- Sugar: Sugar refers to simple carbohydrates found in foods like dairy, honey, fruit, granulated sugar and malted grains. This is the fastest form converted into energy by the body.
Whiskey and Diabetes
This is why a wee spot of whiskey is safe for diabetics. However, getting drunk can lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, those with sugar-related health conditions should first speak with their doctor before consuming any amount of whiskey.
When you bring these considerations into whiskey, all carbs and calories are incredibly low. Even though grains are what make up whiskey on the whole, its distilling process removes a lot of these. So, the average nutrition information for a typical 1½ ounce glass of whiskey will have the following (on average per gram):
- Total Calories: 105
- Protein: 0
- Fat: 0
- Carbs: 0
- Fiber: 0
- Alcohol Content: about 14 (this will depend on spirit ABV)
Whiskey consumed without any additional mixers will have miniscule amounts of carbs and zero fat or protein. Most of the calories in whiskey come from the alcohol content. And these increase upon the strength of the bottle depending on the ABV (alcohol by volume).
All that’s left after distilling and filtration is alcohol, water and the congeners which give whiskey’s characteristic aroma and taste. While the average 1½ ounce glass of whiskey is around 105 calories, not every whiskey is the same as the next. For instance, 140-proof whiskey will have considerably more calories than 80 or 40 proof. So, in general, stronger whiskeys will have more calories.
- 70% ABV or 140 proof = 170 calories
- 50% ABV or 100 proof = 124 calories
- 45% ABV or 90 proof = 110 calories
- 40% AVB or 80 proof = 96 calories
Another thing affecting the calorie count with a higher proof whiskey is the fact that sugar increases in concentration the longer it ages in a barrel. This isn’t significant, but it is important to understand that it does increase. Once you get into 100 and 140 proof, you’re looking at about 2 grams. Everything else will have one gram or less.
Know more about Whiskey Aging in this article!
The process of making whiskey is what gives it such a low calorie count. The distilling process removes all the sugar, fat and carbs. However, the sugars don’t entirely disappear but there is a huge reduction. Therefore, the amount of sugar is so scant it’s statistically insignificant.
Technically speaking, you can average about 7 calories per gram of whiskey. But, this is whiskey served straight up, up, on the rocks or neat. When you mix it in a cocktail, the other liquids in the drink will raise the calorie count exponentially. A Whiskey Sour, for example, can jump as high as 340 calories.
With a typical 1½ shot or glass of whiskey being around 7 calories per gram, this makes alcohol higher in calories than carbohydrates and protein. Yet, it’s much lower in fat than calories.
Calories in whiskey are not the only thing to have in mind…
While whiskey can help you with weight loss efforts, you have to take care in the way you consume whiskey. The answer to “How many calories in whiskey?” really lies on how you have it. A shot or glass with whiskey neat a bit of water won’t provide too many calories, but mixing it with things like soda or juice very much will. Things like a coke and whiskey will increase the calorie count to 150 and shoot it with 39 grams of sugar.
Even though you may be able to have a glass or two of whiskey, understand that consuming alcohol will change how your body processes food. so, it’s just not all about how many calories in whiskey. Recent studies show how alcohol can retard oxidation of things like proteins, fats and carbs. It slows down how your body converts sugar for energy and fat burning.
This means that the sugars consumed during a night of drinking will store up in your fat cells rather than convert into energy for your body to use. It’s this that causes weight gain in association with alcohol consumption.
Also, these numbers discussed here are only for the average amount of general whiskey. Different brands will have various calorie and carb counts. There are some ABV calculators you can find online to help you understand your favorite brand. Simply enter the proof and the amount you drink. Multiply that by 7 per gram of calories. This will give you a rough estimate.
When you want to still consume whiskey while watching your weight, the best thing to do is to keep close watch on everything you consume throughout the day. To maintain a low-calorie night out, consider the following tips:
- Neat, Up, Straight Up or On the Rocks: Don’t mix the whiskey with anything, not even a splash of soda. If you need to dilute the strength of the whiskey a little, have it on the rocks or with a splash of water. Besides, this is the best and most classic way to enjoy it.
- Eat Well Beforehand: When you know you’re going out on the town with friends for the night, ensure you eat a quality, healthy and low-calorie meal before you begin drinking. Also, ensure you snack on healthy foods throughout the course of the evening.
- Drink High Quality Spirits: Avoid guzzling down shot after shot of cheap whiskey. It’s better to slowly sip a glass over 45 minutes and alternate it with a glass of water. Count your drinks and don’t slam them.
- Watch What You Consume: Watch your caloric intake before and during whiskey consumption. Count what you already consumed. Subtract that from how many calories your body burned through. If you have a negative number, you can indulge a little bit. But, if it exceeds, then you’ll have to sip on one or two drinks.
Want to avoid weight gain and still have a glass of whiskey? We have more tips for you: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/blog/follow-these-tips-religiously-to-prevent-whisky-weight-gain/
Of all the spirits available to drink, whiskey is one of the friendliest to those trying to watch their weight. A single 1½ ounce shot is only 105 calories, which isn’t going to break the bank, even if you are a little over for the day.
But, it’s when you mix it with other things like a coke or ginger beer, then the calories in whiskey will rocket. Also, the higher ABV contained in any given bottle will increase those calories. So, staying in the range between 80 and 90 proof whiskeys will allow for the best control of calories.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the alcohol will convert anything else you consume into sugar stored in your fat cells. This is why one or two glasses should be the max amount you consume.