If you’re trying to keep an eye on your calorie intake, you already know alcohol can mess with your nutrition goals. But what about hard seltzers? Are White Claws healthy — or at least better for you than beer or wine?
Short answer: Hard seltzers typically contain fewer calories per serving than a mixed drink, a can of beer, or a glass of wine. But they still add empty calories to your diet, so it’s important to sip in moderation.
Here’s what you need to know.
Are Hard Seltzers Better for Weight Loss?
Zero-calorie flavored seltzers have long been a less-boring alternative to plain old water. So you may be wondering if the boozed-up version of this bubbly beverage could be a healthier swap for your usual alcoholic beverage of choice.
White Claw, Truly, and High Noon hard seltzers each contain 100 calories per 12-ounce can. By comparison, an average 12-ounce can of beer contains 153 calories, and a 5-ounce glass of red wine contains 125 calories.
But despite their lower calorie count, hard seltzers — like any alcohol — are a source of empty calories and can stall your weight loss if you consume too much.
If you’ve found a reasonable caloric intake that supports weight loss, but you drink a 100-calorie hard seltzer on top of that, it can throw off your calorie deficit, explains Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior dietitian at RR-UCLA Medical Center and author of the book Recipe for Survival: What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and More Environmentally Friendly Life.
Of course, a sustainable eating plan needs to be realistic, and alcohol can fit into both 2B Mindset and Portion Fix when enjoyed in moderation. So it’s possible to enjoy alcohol without undoing your weight loss efforts.
If you choose a White Claw instead of a different 100-calorie treat, for example, “you may still lose weight,” Hunnes explains. “It all depends on your other intake and how many of these you are drinking.”
Can You Over-Consume White Claws?
You can over-consume anything, and hard seltzer is certainly no exception.
“The guidelines for hard seltzer should be the same as regular alcohol guidelines,” says Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NLC. “The less, the better.”
The calories from alcohol can add up quickly. If you’re in a calorie deficit before you start drinking, hard seltzers may push your total caloric intake for the day into the amount needed for weight maintenance or weight gain, depending on how many you consume.
There are also potential health risks related to frequency and amount of alcohol consumption.
Bottom line: Be mindful of how many hard seltzers you’re consuming. As part of a healthy eating pattern, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women, or two per day for men.
Do Any Hard Seltzers Have Lower Calories Than White Claw?
Yes, some brands of hard seltzers have even fewer calories than White Claw. However, the difference is typically only a few calories — so if you’re indulging in a hard seltzer, go with whichever brand you like best.
Here are a few lower-calorie options:
Sparkling Ice Spiked: 80 calories, 4% ABV, 0g sugar, 1g carbs
Flying Embers: 95 calories, 5% ABV, 0g sugar, 0g carbs
Jose Cuervo Playamar: 90 calories, 4.5% ABV, 0g sugar, 0g carbs
Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer: 90 calories, 4.5% ABV, 0g sugar, 1-2g carbs
Grandeur Peak: 90 calories, 4.5% ABV
Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water: 88 calories, 4.2% ABV, 0g sugar
San Juan Seltzer: 85 calories, 4.5% ABV, 0g sugar, 0g carbs
Pacer Low-Proof Seltzer: 50 calories, 2% ABV, 0g sugar
Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer (Signature Flavors): 80 calories, 4% ABV, 0g sugar, 0g carbs
Karbach Ranch Water: 90 calories, 4.5% ABV, 0g sugar, 1g carbs
Smirnoff Seltzer: 90 calories, 4.5% ABV, 0g sugar
If you want to lower your tipple’s calorie count, but you’re not a fan of hard seltzer, keep in mind many light beers contain around 95 calories — so if you prefer the taste of beer, that may be a preferable option.