Are Spiked Seltzers Truly Healthier than Beer?

It’s almost summer, people! That means hitting the beach and bringing along some of your favorite cold refreshments to enjoy under the sun. If you’re health conscious, though, it can be a bit of doozy to find a convenient canned or bottled drink that won’t completely kill your diet.

Enter the spiked seltzer water. These clear, fizzy drinks have gained a lot of popularity lately as a “healthy” alternative to beer or mixed drinks. They taste pretty similar to typical seltzer water, coming in a variety of fruity flavors depending on which brand you choose.

However, I’m a little bit skeptical that these drinks are that much healthier than your average light beer – the main campaign that the seltzers seem to be marketed around. I grabbed some calorie and carb data on a 4 of the top seltzer brands and 4 popular light beer brands to see for myself.

Beverage Calories Carbs ABV ABV/Calorie
Michelob Ultra 95 2.6g 4.2% 4.421%
Corona Light 99 5.0g 3.2% 3.232%
Bud Light 110 6.6g 4.2% 3.818%
Coors Light 102 5.0g 4.2% 4.118%
Truly Seltzer 100 2.0g 5.0% 5.000%
Spiked Seltzer 140 5.0g 6.0% 4.286%
Nauti Seltzer 110 5.0g 5.0% 4.545%
White Claw Seltzer 110 4.0g 5.0% 4.545%

The Verdict

As I suspected, the seltzer water is pretty on-par with many of the popular “light” beers in terms of calories and carbs. In fact, in several cases, the seltzer water actually has a higher calorie count than beer!

The main thing the seltzers have going for them are the “bang for the buck,” as all of the seltzers have a slightly higher ABV than their beery counterparts. I’m a data nerd, so I put together a quick stat – ABV per calorie – that you’ll find in the last column of the chart. Obviously, if you’re looking to get an efficient buzz from your drinks while minimizing calories, you’ll want a higher ABV per calorie. You’ll feel more from drinking less. The seltzers pretty consistently had a higher ABV per calorie than almost every beer on our list.

Other than the higher ABV per calorie, though, the claim that spiked seltzers are healthier than a light beer are a stretch at best. Honestly, they really aren’t that much different.

That said, there are two obvious standouts from this whole exercise: Truly and Michelob Ultra.

Truly is one of the “healthiest” options on this list. (Let’s face it, no alcohol is truly healthy – see what I did there?) It has the lowest carb count of any of the seltzers and comes in at a respectable 3rd place in terms of calories. The higher ABV may be a decent trade-off for the 5 extra calories you’ll be drinking – if you like the taste of the “water.”

However, if you ultimately prefer beer then you’ll find solace in Michelob Ultra. Coming in at the lowest calorie count in our comparison – even lower than the seltzer options – with the second-lowest carb count, you really can’t find a better option in the same ABV range. Michelob Ultra does come in additional flavors, which won’t up the calories but will increase the amount of carbs to varying degrees, so you could technically have some variety too.

What do you guys drink in the summer? How to you enjoy a frosty summer beverage without breaking the calorie bank? Let me know down in the comments or on Instagram.

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