Though some alcoholic beverages may be called "light," all alcohol contains calories. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid calories if you want to enjoy an alcoholic drink. You can, however, decrease your caloric intake by choosing drinks that contain limited amounts of carbohydrates.
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The three main types of alcoholic beverages -- distilled spirits, wine and beer -- are made up of various levels of alcohol, water and most of the time, carbohydrates. Water contains no calories, but carbohydrates and alcohol, respectively, contain 4 and 7 calories per gram.
Standard Sizes and Calories
According to Rethinking Drinking, a website of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a standard drink in the United States is one that contains about 14 grams, or 98 calories, of alcohol. That's 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. The caloric difference in these drinks is due to the carbohydrate content.