Regular Beer, 12 fl oz (approx. 355 g) – 146 calories
Light Beer, 12 fl oz (approx. 354 g) – 99 calories
Root Beer, 12 fl oz (approx. 370 g) – 152 calories
So, where do the calories come from?
It comes from the alcohol itself, along with the protein and the carbohydrates in your particular brand of beer. Beer does not contain fat.
Alcohol is neither a sugar nor a carbohydrate, but it does contains 7 calories per gram, which is much higher than carbohydrate and protein, each of which is 4 calories per gram. Beer tends to be higher in calories due to the carbohydrates and protein, which give the beverage at least some nutritional energy value.
However, just to complicate things even more, alcohol content is measured in percentages not in grams. Yet, it is usually sold labeled with “proof” value rather than the percentage value. But, not to worry! The powers that be made it easy for you! The proof value of an alcoholic beverage is always double the alcohol percentage by volume. This translates to beer that may be listed as 10 proof actually being 5% alcohol by volume.
When asking about how many calories in a beer, remember to take note of the alcohol content of the brand you are drinking. That is the first step. But, that will only give you a rough idea. All the carbohydrates in that particular brand can make the difference between a wise low-calorie choice, and a diet de-railing disaster. Generally, the best way to find out the calories in a beer is to visit the brewer’s website nutrition page because you probably won’t find a nutrition label on the beer.
Up until January 2013, FDA nutrition labels have never been approved by the United States government for alcoholic beverages. However, the recent regulation that was passed by the Treasury Department is optional. These new labels could help drinkers know how many carbohydrates and calories they are drinking, but only if the alcohol producers want them to know.
If beer is too complex for you, calorie-wise, you might be better off switching to the “hard stuff” if all you are after is the buzz, not the flavor or the carbohydrates. Be assured that most of the major types of hard liquors have the same number of calories. Tequila, whiskey, gin, vodka and rum all have about 100 to 125 calories per 1.5 oz shot, or jigger.
Beers average about 1 gram of protein, 0 fat, 10-14 mg of Sodum and 3-14 grams of carbohydrate. ABV varies widely among beers, as do the calories per percentage of alcohol.
If you look carefully at the chart above, you will see what appears to be a paradox that makes it difficult to judge calories. For example, a beer that is 4.2% ABV may have anywhere from 96 tp 102 calories, while a beer that is one percent LESS in ABV (4.1%) has more calories, 98-110 of them. So, you can see that really depends on the amount of carbohydrates in that particular blend, and not the ABV like it does in hard liquors.
And another paradox you need to be aware of is that a “light” beer may have even MORE calories than a regular beer. Most “light” beers range from 90-100 calories per 12-ounce serving, up to 300 calories, which is hardly a “diet” beer. “Light” does not refer to diet beer, but to beer which has been reduced in either alcohol content (often by adding water) or reduced in calories, (often by removing carbohydrates which further affects the full-bodied taste), or both, as compared to the regular beers among those in the same brand, style. recipe or series. A brewer may produce several brands, with the light versions being lighter than other light beers that they produce. Basically, a “light” beer has fewer calories than a traditional lager, which has fewer calories than a dark ale and are often criticiized for having less flavor than full-strength beers, tasting as if, or actually being, watered down.
Basically that means that flavor is directly proportional to calories, so if you want more flavor, go for the higher calores.