When you sit down with a cognac, those inconvenient cognac calories are likely the furthest thing from your mind. This upscale beverage's relatively low calorie count, enticing aroma and smooth taste may make cognac your drink of choice.
Discovering Cognac Calories
Cognac begins life as an intensively distilled white wine that's aged until it transforms into a highly desirable beverage with a higher alcohol by volume (ABV), states the French Embassy Agricultural Department. Each batch of cognac undergoes two distillations using traditional French techniques. Finally, the cognac is aged in specially made French oak barrels that enhance the liquor's aroma and taste.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes a standard measurement of cognac refers to a 1.5-ounce serving (or a one-shot serving) of distilled spirits that contains 40 percent ABV.
Each one-shot glass of cognac or brandy packs 100 calories. These cognac calories are equal to a shot glass full of 80-proof vodka, whiskey, rum, gin or tequila. So cognac calories fall right in line with other distilled spirits' calories.
If you wonder whether cognac or brandy contains high amounts of carbohydrates or sugar, the USDA has encouraging news. You won't find any carbs, sugar or fat in any of these liquors. With no beneficial protein or fiber, however, these alcoholic beverages have little nutritional value.
Does Cognac Have Health Benefits?
When drinking any kind of alcohol, the Mayo Clinic recommends you follow moderate alcohol consumption guidelines. If you're a healthy woman, or a man over 65, you can consume up to one drink per day. If you're a man aged 65 or younger, two drinks daily meets the guideline.
Consuming alcoholic beverages (including cognac) in moderation can have specific health benefits, states Oregon State University. Specifically, over the past several decades, there has been a 20 to 30 percent decrease in coronary heart disease (CHD) risk among patients who drink beer, wine and liquor at a moderate rate. However, it's not known if consuming one particular type of alcoholic beverage might add to the reduction in CHD risk.
People who engage in light or moderate alcohol consumption may experience a reduced risk of ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke, which comprises 87 percent of all stroke occurrences, results from insufficient blood delivery to a specific part of the brain.
Moderate alcohol consumption may also provide some protection against the onset of type 2 diabetes and gallstones. However, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that a definite correlation doesn't currently exist.
Read more: 5 Hidden Health Benefits of Alcohol
Negative Effects of Heavy Drinking
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also stresses that heavy drinking can cause considerable harm to your body. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can result in damage to your heart muscle and can raise your blood pressure.
Heavy alcohol consumption can also result in liver inflammation and may even cause potentially fatal cirrhosis of the liver. Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol has been associated with the occurrence of several types of cancer too.
Consuming alcoholic beverages, even at moderate rates, can also result in gradual weight gain, with one alcoholic drink containing an average of 100 to 150 calories. So, if you down three drinks every day, you're loading over 300 extra calories into your body. If you prefer mixed drinks containing soda, juice, syrup or tonic, that further racks up the calories.
If you don't burn off those calories with sufficient amounts of exercise, you'll experience that dreaded "creeping weight gain". Over time, that additional weight could have negative health impacts.
Read more: The Benefits of Cognac
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Low-Calorie Cocktails"
- USDA: "Brandy"
- Mayo Clinic: "Alcohol: Weighing Risks and Potential Benefits"
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: "Alcoholic Beverages"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits"
- French Embassy Agricultural Department: "Cognac (AOC): A Traditional Spirit From Western France"