I’m going to preface this post by saying that I don’t care about my weight, just to get it out in the open. I hardly ever think about it but when I’ve weighed myself I come in around 175-185 which I suppose depends on how much I’m running/hiking (closer to 175) or how much I’m lifting weights and drinking protein shakes (185). With that being said, almost everyone I’ve talked to about my sobriety experiment this month has mentioned the fact that I’ll probably lose some weight as a result. This caused me to do a little research into liquid calories, i.e. calories from beer.
I’ve never really bothered to think about beer calories before other than the ads for MGD 64 which is nasty beer coming in at about 64 calories. Who cares? In my opinion, life is too short to be drinking light (read: tasteless) beers. From an article on BeerAdvocate.com, they show that on the low end Miller Light contains about 96 calories while on the high end (for light beers) Corona Extra contains 148 calories. Not bad if you’re having only one or two beers. However, light beers tend to be binged (myself included from time to time, especially in my college days). So if you have a day (or week, i.e. senior week at Tufts) you could easily drink 10 beers in a day which results in 960 to 1480 calories respectively which is in addition to the food you’re eating. Thus the average person could bring in close to 3000-4000 calories for the day. But who really only eats 2000 calories per day, I easily get 2500-3500 in just food (and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream) alone. The above numbers are only for 10 beers, I have seen friends put down on the order of 15-20 in a day/night of drinking, craziness both in terms of volume of liquid, raw alcohol consumption and in overall calories.
Next, I decided to look up some beers I really do enjoy drinking. From the website EfficientDrinker.com I found a list of 254 beers and pulled out some of my favorites. I wasn’t able to find a great, well-inclusive beer list online that included calories so if you find one please send it along, I’d love to take a look. Here are a few of the beers that I frequent on a regular basis:
- Abita Turbodog – 168 calories
- Brooklyn Lager – 170 calories
- Brooklyn Brown Ale – 190 calories
- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (very drinkable and flavorful IPA) – 209 calories
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (great beer, although at 9% it can sneak up on you) – 294 calories
- Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (very good beer but I can usually only handle one at 18%) – 450 calories (yikes)
- Flying Dog Raging Bitch – 221 calories
- New Belgium Fat Tire – 160 calories
- Ommegang Three Philosophers – 290 calories
- Sam Adams - depending on style ranges from 119 (Light) to 320 (Double Bock)
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – 200 calories
There are obviously many beers that I didn’t list but I think this gets the point across that many of the beers I routinely drink hover around 200 calories a piece. This doesn’t really seem like a huge deal to me if you’re thinking about a single beer. However, it’s not uncommon for me to have a beer or two most days after work and several more than that on a weekend. This leads to an extra 400 calories per day just in beer. Then on the weekends with a few beers and a growler that could easily turn into 2000 liquid calories.
All of these additional beer calories don’t account for all the munchie food like nachos, poutine (gravy/cheese fries), burgers, mac and cheese (from Parish Cafe, it’s the bomb), etc. No one has ever said while drunk, “Man, I’d really like a veggie wrap right now”, it just doesn’t happen, it’s more like “Get me the greasiest most awesome thing ever”. The thousands of extra calories in your diet caused by beer on a weekly or even a monthly basis can be overwhelming to think about. No wonder people who drink beer consistently (without exercising) tend to gain weight. I weighed myself in at 176.4 at the beginning of the month so we’ll see if I actually end up losing weight as a result of 30 days of sobriety. I’l certainly save a bunch of money but I’ll save that topic for another post.