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Living Well : Nutrition

Calories in Alcohol

Having a drink? Make sure you include its calories in your overall daily total


As mentioned before, alcohol is packed with calories. Each gram has 7 calories. This is almost twice as many as carbohydrate or protein. A can of light beer has nearly 100 calories. Regular beer has nearly 150 calories, or about the same as a can of soda. Mixed drinks and cordials are yet higher. A daiquiri has more than 200 calories; a piña colada, more than 250.

You should also be aware of serving size when choosing alcoholic drinks. A “standard” beer is 12 oz, but many bars and restaurants serve beer in pint glasses, which are 16 oz. Some places use 22-oz glasses. For wine, a serving size is 5 oz, but it is easy to serve more because wine glasses are often large. Mixed drinks also may come in oversized vessels and contain more calories from the alcohol and mixing agents.

Some people may lose weight simply by quitting alcohol or reducing the amount they drink. Others may decide the pleasure from drinking does not justify the calories.


If drinking alcohol is permitted by your dietary plan, you can use some of the following strategies to help control how much you drink. Pour small amounts. Savor every bit. Only take a drink if you want it. Do not drink out of habit or continue doing so because it’s what you did in the past. Also consider making these lower-calorie substitutions:

  • Choose low-calorie mixers like water, club soda, or diet sodas
  • Dilute your drink: mix wine with sparkling water; or, if you like fruit juices as mixers, try a combination of sparkling water and fruit juices
  • If you like beer, drink light beer; or, comparison shop among your favorite full-calorie beers. Most beers that are not light beers do not have the calories on the package label, so you may have to do some research to learn how many calories are in your favorite beers. However, this research may pay off: some beers may have more than 300 calories in 12 oz. Sometimes you are able to save calories simply by switching to a different regular beer
  • Limit your total number of drinks. Decide in advance how many drinks you will have, ensure you have room within your calorie goal, and stick to your limits

Also be alert for the “disinhibiting” effect of alcohol. When you drink, you might do things you would not do at other times. When you want to reduce your calorie intake, a drink may weaken your self-control. You may relax your guard and eat more than you planned.

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Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.