Can Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?

Fear of a DUI should be enough motivation to refrain from drinking and driving.  However, for those that need additional motivation to refrain from drinking to excess, please note the following excerpt from an article written by Sally Squires in 2005 and published in the Washington Post.

Squires claims that alcohol packs seven calories per gram, falling just short of the nine calories found in a gram of fat and nearly twice that in a gram of protein or carbohydrate. The addition of fat-filled or sugary mixers can cause the calories to peak at over 500 per drink.

Here are some sample calorie counts from drinks listed in her article: Beer 150, Light beer 110, Dark beer 168, Distilled spirits (Scotch, vodka, bourbon, gin etc.) 100, Red wine*** 105, White wine*** 100, Amaretto sour** (Sweet and sour mix, almond amaretto liqueur, tequila, orange juice)  421, B-52** (Kahlua coffee liqueur, amaretto almond liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream) 191, Bloody Mary** (Vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lime)  120, Chocolate martini** (Vodka, Creme de Cacao)  188, Cosmopolitan** (Vodka, Triple Sec, Rose’s lime juice, cranberry juice)  131, Daiquiri** (Light rum, limes, powdered sugar) 137, Gin and tonic** (Gin, tonic water, lime)  189, Hurricane** (Dark rum, light rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, Grenadine, 151 proof rum, cherries, pineapple and sugar 384, Irish coffee** (Irish whiskey, coffee, sugar, whipped cream) 159, Mai Tai** (Dark rum, light rum, sweet and sour mix, grandaine, 151 proof rum, ice)  306, Manhattan** (Whiskey, Vermouth, Bitters) 132, Margarita** (Coarse salt, lime, white Tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, crushed ice)  327, Martini** (Gin, dry Vermouth)  119, Mudslide** (Vodka, coffee liqueur, Irish cream, vanilla ice cream)  820, Pina colada** (Malibu run, pineapple juice, cream 312, Rum and coke****) 361.

**SOURCE: 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, * Caloric content will vary by recipe, **Drinkmixer Web Site,, ***Calorie King,, ****Recipe provided by as “typical rum and Coke recipe.” Serving size is based on the recipe and calorie information was calculated with Coca-Cola calorie information and rum.

Now, for the calorie conscious it would seem that distilled spirits in shot form or mixed with low calorie mixers (like diet soda), or a glass of wine are the top choices.  In the alternative, Distilled spirits with high calorie mixers like the Mudslide can tip the scales at over 800 calories.

Assume the following simple model.  A non-drinker is burning all the calories she consumes.  Her weight should stay constant.  If that same non-drinker starts to drink alcohol and fails to increase the calories she burns the result is excess calories. 

Excess calories can cause weight gain.  It is common knowledge that it takes an additional 3500 unburned calories to gain a pound of fat. 

Assume that if a person consumes 4 drinks a day and each drink is between 100-800 calories.  That can range from 400-3200 additional calories per day or 2800-22400 per week. 

This means that a person that drinks four 100 calorie drinks every day would gain 1 pound every 1.25 weeks.  At the other end of the spectrum, the person that can drink four mudslides per day can gain about 6.4 pounds every week.

Although each person is different, these are linear equations.  So in theory, that means a person consuming 8 drinks per day will experience double the calorie intake and double the weight gain in our theoretical model.  That is an excess fat gain of 2 pounds per 1.25 weeks up to 12.8 pounds per week!

If the words think before you drink did not mean anything to your before, this article will give you some more food for thought.

And remember, if you or a family member has been arrested for DUI in the Cincinnati Area – including: Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Clermont, Montgomery, and Greene Counties – call me, ROBERT HEALEY, or one of my associates at 513.333.0014.  We are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.  Because now is the perfect time to put a team that includes a FORMER POLICE OFFICER and TWO FORMER PROSECUTORS to work….for you!

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