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The Drinker’s Guide to Calorie Counts

Shocking news! Drinking too much makes you fat.

Who knew???

Yes, we all know that alcohol leads to obesity. But many of us assume that the biggest offender is beer. In fact, though, any kind of alcohol is going to help pad out that spare tire. And for three main reasons:

  1. Drinking in excess causes intestinal permeability (a leaky gut), which can result in chronic inflammation. This increases your ability to gain weight, according to registered dietician and nutritionist David A. Wiss. “Chronic inflammation is linked to weight gain because the fat cells we already have become larger and get filled with more fat,” he explains.
  2. The body can’t store ethanol (the type of alcohol found in booze), so your liver is forced to burn that before it performs any of its regular duties — like processing all the other carbs in your cocktail. So rather than being used for energy, those carbs are turned into fat.
  3. Booze is simply packed full of calories.

Again: In terms of that last point, it’s not just beer.

To give you a better idea of just how fattening all booze can be, we’ve calculated the average calorie contents for 10 regular guy drinks, along with their caloric snack equivalent to help visualize just what you’re putting into your body each time.

The Drink: Shot of tequila
The Calories: 69
The Food Equivalent: One snack-size Kit Kat (70 calories)

The Drink: Glass of whiskey
The Calories: 97
The Food Equivalent: Two slices of bacon (90 calories)

The Drink: Bud Light
The Calories: 103
The Food Equivalent: Two Krispy Kreme doughnut holes (100 calories)

The Drink: Budweiser
The Calories: 146
The Food Equivalent: One bag of Doritos (140 calories)

The Drink: Vodka martini
The Calories: 127
The Food Equivalent: One Arby’s mozzarella stick (115 calories)

The Drink: Cuba libre
The Calories: 150
The Food Equivalent: Three Bagel Bites (150 calories)

The Drink: Old-fashioned
The Calories: 155
The Food Equivalent: Three Oreos (160 calories)

The Drink: Bloody Mary
The Calories: 168
The Food Equivalent: One Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco (170 calories)

The Drink: Classic margarita
The Calories: 192
The Food Equivalent: Four McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets (180 calories)

The Drink: Negroni
The Calories: 195
The Food Equivalent: One McDonald’s vanilla cone (200 calories)

While any one drink listed above isn’t necessarily going to fatten you up, it’s important to consider your drinking habits — pounding five margaritas and two Bud Lights on any weekend night adds up to a whopping 1,163 calories, or the equivalent of chowing down on 25 Chicken McNuggets. (Whatever the food equivalent, it’s over half your daily calorie intake.)

So if your diet of kale salads and fresh-pressed juices isn’t showing results, maybe take a long, hard look at the calories you’re chugging every weekend.