Diet & Weight Management The Facts About Hard Seltzer
The Rise of Hard Soda
Since its debut in 2013, sales of hard soda in cans have popped up. One industry report states that more than half of all drinkers in the United States drink it at least once a week. One reason may be that hard soda has fewer calories and carbohydrates than many beers, wines and cocktails. But it’s as healthy as it may seem?
What is it about?
Most hard sodas are made with brewed cane sugar and/or malted rice, with soda water and flavorings added. Many contain small amounts of juice, but not enough to add any nutrition. As with non-alcoholic sodas, they range in flavor from lime and strawberry to passionfruit and pomegranate. A typical 12-ounce can has 100 calories and 2 grams of added sugar. Similar to beer, they have about 5% alcohol content.
How it compares to beer
Hard soda is as convenient as a can of beer. And it has about the same number of calories as many light beers. A 12-ounce can of light beer has about 100 calories and about 4.2 percent alcohol content. Like hard soda, regular beer has about 5 percent alcohol. But it has 150 calories per serving. Craft beer can have up to 200 total calories per 12 ounces and may have as much as 6.5% alcohol content.
How it compares to wine
Wine tends to have higher calorie and alcohol content than hard soda. But quantities vary, depending on what kind of wine you choose. Keep in mind that a standard glass of wine is 5 ounces, less than half the size of a can of hard soda. Average counts per serving of wine include
White wine: 121 calories and 10% alcohol.
Red Wine: 125 calories and 12%-15% alcohol.
Champagne (4 oz. glass): 84 calories and 12% alcohol.
Hard Soda Water & Cocktails
For calorie counters, it’s an easy choice between hard soda and most popular cocktails. While a glass of rum, gin, tequila or whiskey (1.5 ounces) has about the same number of calories as a can of hard soda, sugary mixed drinks can make the calorie count go through the roof. For example.
A small (6 oz.) mojito has 143 calories.
A 4-ounce margarita has 168 calories.
Pina Coladas and other frozen drinks can have 500 calories or more.
If you are on a keto or low-carb diet, hard soda is one of your better alcohol choices. A can has 2 grams of carbohydrates. Contrast.
Beer: 12.8 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving.
Light beer. 5.3 grams per serving.
Wine. Up to 4 grams of carbohydrates per 5 ounce serving.
Alcohol: 0 calories, not counting mixers.
Just remember, hard soda doesn’t give you the nutritional value of those 100 calories.
Is it gluten-free?
Most hard sodas do not contain gluten, which is a protein found in grains like wheat and barley. If you’re avoiding gluten, this makes them a better choice than beer, which is made from barley. (Wine and distilled spirits are gluten-free.) But if you have celiac disease, check the label on your hard soda or ask your server. Some brands may not be 100% gluten-free.
Hard Soda and Diabetes
When you eat or drink large amounts of sugar or carbohydrates too quickly, it can cause your blood sugar to rise to unhealthy levels. So low-carbohydrate, low-sugar hard soda is a better choice than many other alcoholic beverages if you have diabetes. But make sure you’ve talked to your doctor about whether drinking alcohol is safe for you. Only drink it if your diabetes is well controlled, and never on an empty stomach.
Does it hydrate you?
Non-alcoholic soda is a refreshing drink that helps to provide your body with the hydration it needs. Hard soda, on the other hand, doesn’t do the job very well. In fact, non-alcoholic beverages are a good choice for hydration. This is because they actually remove water from your body by making you pee more often. When you’re drinking hard soda or other types of alcohol, drink more water.
Drink in moderation.
Although hard soda is very low in calories and carbohydrates, most nutritionists wouldn’t call it healthy. It’s easy to drink, and it doesn’t make you feel full like a beer can. So it’s easy to drink too much. The calories can add up. The same goes for alcohol, which can lead to bad judgment and affect your health in the short term if you make it a habit. Enjoy them in moderation. If you’re a woman, stick to one capsule a day, and if you’re a man, take two.