Drinking in Calories: Alcohol Adds 100 a Day

(Image credit: Making a toast via Shutterstock)

American adults drink in 100 calories a day from beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages, on average, according to a new report.

Men ages 20 to 39 consume the most calories from alcohol, about 175 calories per day, while women in this age group consume about 60 calories from alcohol daily.

While this may not seem like much, "It's not insignificant, it's contributing to your total calorie intake for a day," said study researcher Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And close to 20 percent of men and 6 percent of women consume more than 300 calories from alcohol daily, Nielsen said.

While there's been much focus on sugar-sweetened beverages as contributors to obesity, alcohol is also a source of empty calories. Calories from alcohol are something people may not be aware of, (or prefer not to think about), the researchers said.

"When we think of what we consume, a lot of people immediately remember the food calories they eat," Nielsen said. "Sometimes we forget the drinks we've had."

For reference, there are about 150 calories in 12-ounce can of soda, 150 calories in a glass of beer, 120 calories in a glass of wine, and 100 calories in 1.5 ounces of liquor.

The report examined alcohol consumption among U.S. adults ages 20 and over. The researchers used data from national surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010; participants were asked how much alcohol they had consumed in the previous 24 hours.

Nearly one-third of men and 18 percent of women consume alcohol on any given day, the report said.

Adults who consume alcohol get about 16 percent of their daily calories from alcoholic beverages. That's about the same percentage of extra calories the average child consumes in added sugars.

Men consume more calories from beer than from liquor or wine, while women consume about the same amount of calories from all three alcoholic beverages.

Some studies have found health benefits from alcohol, such as a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. Dietary guidelines recommend people consume alcohol in moderation: one daily drink for women, and two for men.

The report is published today (Nov. 15) by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Pass it on: U.S. adults consume 100 calories a day from alcohol.

Follow Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner, or MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.