Hard seltzer? Coming from a dietitian’s perspective, it’s a hard sell.
While various brands of hard seltzers (and still water!), from White Claw to Truly, have emerged over the last several years, one flooded the news last week: Four Loko. Specifically, Four Loko Sour, a hard seltzer that boasts a 14% alcohol by volume (ABV). That’s equivalent to nearly three macrobrews and about equal to a glass of wine.
But is it any healthier?
First off, it’s a lot easier to drink a seltzer than slam a glass of wine or even a beer, which means more calories (and more booze) goes down your gut faster.
You may think that seltzer is lighter and that it keeps you better hydrated than beer or wine. In fact, many hard seltzer companies lead you to believe this. But that’s just now how the body works. Alcohol, regardless of what it’s paired with, dehydrates you. Period. There’s no health halo around it.
Speaking of calories, I’d estimate that this particular brand of Four Loko seltzer, given its ABV, likely has at least 400 calories per 12-ounce can.
Oliver Byunggyu Woo / EyeEm
That’s a lot, especially given that you’ll likely be drinking this stuff at summer parties where there’s plenty of other opportunities to chow down on high-calorie food. (Don’t forget that alcohol lowers your inhibitions and thereby your resistance toward overeating.)
“The average guy needs around 2000 calories daily, give or take, depending on their activity. When one drink itself makes up nearly 1/5 of that—along with having about 3 times the alcohol of most traditional beers—I’d suggest you rethink your drink,” says Brierley Horton, a dietitian in Birmingham, AL.
The bottom line: While there’s certainly more to life than calories, when you couple that with the dangerously high levels of alcohol in a drink that already is complete with a built-in health halo, I’d say stick to better options.
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