Calories in Vodka Explained

“How many calories are in vodka?”, “Will drinking this make me fat?”, “Can I drink vodka if I’m on a diet?” – these are questions I’ve been asked countless times in the last year alone by my friends, both male and female. It’s a known fact that alcohol leads to weight gain, which is why I’m never surprised when someone asks me about calories in vodka, so I thought it right to shed a little bit of light on this subject (mainly so I can point them to this post and save some time in the future, these drinks aren’t going to drink themselves!)

I’m going to guess you’ve heard the term ‘beer belly’ at least ten times in your life, but have you ever heard the term ‘vodka belly’? Well no, neither have I and that’s probably because the calories in vodka are fairly low compared to other alcohols, which is yet another fantastic reason to make it your drink of choice.

How Many Calories are in Vodka?

Sadly, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer for this as each brand differs slightly depending on a variety of factors including base grain, flavourings and additives. On average, one can expect a typical shot to hold around 100 calories – if you mix the vodka with a diet tonic water (specifically chosen as it’s calorie free), you’ll find yourself at the lower end of the potential calorific intake from a night out, which is marvellous if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain. If you’re still reading this, then you probably do care about your calorific intake so be wary of mixing your vodka with cola (even diet variations, but less so), fruit juices (they contain high amounts of sugar usually) or other non zero-calorie mixers regardless of how much better they might taste! Mixing vodka with diet cola usually adds one calorie per 8 fluid ounces.

Generally speaking, a 90-proof vodka (45% ABV) ranks in at 110 calories per 1.5oz. 80-proof vodka (40% ABV) is marginally less at 100 calories per 1.5oz (standard shot size). The higher the proof, the more calories the beverage has! The list below shows a simplified overview of proof vs calories.

  • 70 proof vodka –  85 calories
  • 80 proof vodka – 96 calories
  • 90 proof vodka – 110 calories
  • 100 proof vodka – 124 calories

Vodka itself usually consists of 50% water (zero calories) and 50% alcohol (calories dependant on volume), so if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain what you have, feel free to indulge more than you would if you were drinking lagers, stouts, beers etc, but as always; drink in moderation and keep your goals in sight! As well as this, be wary of the post-drink session food hunt – most of my friends spend all night worrying about too many calories in vodka but then proceed to eat a greasy, calorie-rich burger at the end of the night. Each to their own! It’s also worth noting that vodka contains no carbs whatsoever, so that can make your dieting plans slightly better.

FAQs – Calories in Vodka

Does vodka have carbs?

Thankfully, no. Vodka does not contain carbs (carbohydrates). Distilled spirits such as whiskey, gin, rum, vodka etc only contain alcohol and therefore zero carbs, which make them ideal beverages for those tracking their carbohydrate intake. In my opinion, vodka is the best choice as it’s highly versatile and delicious. The fact that it has no carbs may seem strange considering they’re made from carb-heavy bases such as potatoes or wheat but during the processes of fermentation and distillation, all of these carbs are removed to leave you with a refreshing outcome.

How Does Vodka Compare (in terms of calories) to other Drinks?

  • Wine (5 ounces) – 125 calories
  • Beer (12 ounces) – 145 calories
  • Light beer (12 ounces) – 110 calories
  • Champagne (4 ounces) – 84 calories

Does flavored vodka have more calories?

Nowadays, most brands offer several flavor variations, which can potentially rule out the possibility of mixing with high calorie drinks such as cola or fruit juice. As these drinks are infused with the flavour, they don’t add any extra calories to the vodka whatsoever, so there’s not need to factor in any additional calories for flavored versions.

However, some brands offer vodka-based drinks that are made with sugar-based syrups, which are added at the end of the distillation cycles and these versions will undoubtedly contain more calories than any infused vodka ever will. If you’re ever in doubt, simply check out the label or google the product.

Is Vodka Good for Weight Loss?

Sadly, the answer to this is no. The reason being is that alcohol (regardless of what tasty form it may come in) interfere’s with the way our bodies burn fat. In a basic sense, the liver breaks down the fats in our body but if there is alcohol, the liver prioritises that and so, fat metabolism is either slowed down or stopped entirely as the body draws it’s energy from the calories in vodka, which most definitely isn’t good for anyone trying to lose weight.

Although you may think that a shot of vodka doesn’t contain many calories, when was the last time you simply had just one shot? Each shot is on average 100 calories, how many drinks do you have on a night out? In my experience, I’d have around 4-5 shots and a couple of cocktails at the very least – including the calories from mixers, that’s nearly 1000 calories, which definitely won’t be helping my waistline at all. As well as this, we lose our senses somewhat and inhibitions become to lower, people become more attractive, crazy things seem a little less crazy (and usually a lot more appealing / hilarious) and food becomes a lot more desirable. Alcohol plays havoc with our hormones (in this case, it’s cortisol and adrenaline), which means our body begins to crave foods that are high in carbs and fat, this usually leads to (at least for me) a trip to McDonalds or Subway, therefore adding even more calories to my daily intake.

In short, no alcohol is good for weight loss and should be treated in the same way as you would treat a succulent chocolate chip cookie or a slice of cake. Treat it sparingly and bear the numbers mentioned in mind.