If you’re diabetic or are on the Ketogenic or Atkins diet, sugar and carbohydrates are a huge no-no. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few treats now and then—including cocktails with friends. Many alcoholic beverages have low or even zero sugar content, including vodka.
If you’re trying to watch your caloric and sugar intake, you may wonder: Does vodka have sugar?
Vodka doesn’t have sugar—in fact, it doesn’t have anything. It has no sugar, carbohydrates, cholesterol, or sodium. While it’s made of fermented grains or vegetables like potatoes, all its nutritional content is lost during the distillation process. So, the only thing you’ll find in a pure shot of vodka is ethanol and water.
This makes vodka a more diet-friendly choice than other high-carb alcoholic beverages, including beer (12 grams of carbohydrates), margaritas (13 grams), sangria (27 grams), and pina coladas (32 grams).
If Vodka has No Sugar, Can it be fattening?
While vodka doesn’t have carbohydrates, it still has calories. For example, a 1.5 shot of 70-proof vodka is about 85 calories. And the stronger the vodka, the more calories it has. A shot of 80-proof vodka has 96 calories, 90-proof vodka has 110 calories, and 100 proof vodka is 124 calories.
The calorie content is pretty much the same among the well-known vodka brands, including Grey Goose, Smirnoff, and Absolut.
But beware of flavored vodka because some of them can have a lot of sugar. These can contain natural sugar, like agave syrup, or artificial sweeteners, like aspartame. Some flavoring may not change the calorie or carb count, but some flavored vodkas may contain up to 11 grams of carbs.
How Much Sugar is in Mixed Vodka Drinks?
Once you start mixing vodka with sodas, juices, and other spirits, you significantly increase the calorie content.
For example, a Screwdriver (which is made from vodka and orange juice) has about 164 calories. A Vodka Martini can have as many as 140 calories, while a Bloody Mary has at least 200 calories.
And according to the USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020” the sugar content of mixers can vary according to brand, because of the kinds of ingredients they may use. If your bartender’s using a sweetened flavored orange juice instead of pure orange juice, your Screwdriver will have a lot more sugar than you’ve bargained for.
Controlling Sugar Intake When Drinking Vodka Cocktails?
If you can’t take a pure shot of vodka, then try mixing it with things that have zero sugar and carbohydrates. This includes seltzer, diet soda, or sugar-free flavored water.
And as mentioned above, flavored vodka may be another option to keep the sugar intake minimal.
What Other Alcohol has No Sugar or Carbohydrates?
Aside from vodka, you’ll be happy to hear that many other hard liquors have no sugar or carbohydrates. This includes whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, and brandy. But once you start mixing these with other sugary drinks, then you’re significantly increasing the carb count.
A lot of people will mix their alcohol with diet sodas. This is a great option to keep the sugar content low.
Thank God it’s sugar-free! A strict diet should still include room for indulgence. Diet experts say that you’re more likely to stick to a diet if you allow yourself a cheat day, and it’s good to know that your list of allowable treats includes some of your favorite alcoholic drinks.
That said, vodka does have calories — so drinking too much can affect your diet, not to mention your liver. So enjoy those drinks (and the buffalo wings) in moderation.