Is Modelo a fattening beer?

Modelo is a popular Mexican lager beer brewed by Grupo Modelo in Mexico. It is exported around the world and is one of the top selling beer brands in Mexico and the United States.

With its light, crisp taste and refreshing finish, Modelo is a go-to beer for many people. However, some beer drinkers wonder if Modelo is a fattening beer that they should avoid if trying to watch their calorie or carb intake.

Is beer in general fattening?

Before looking specifically at Modelo, it helps to understand if beer in general is a fattening alcoholic beverage. The answer is that beer can contribute extra calories and lead to weight gain if consumed in excess.

Some key reasons why beer may be fattening include:

– Beer is high in calories – The average regular beer contains around 150 calories per 12 oz serving. Light beers have about 100 calories. For comparison, a glass of wine is around 120-130 calories and a shot of liquor is about 100 calories. The calories in beer come primarily from the alcohol and carbohydrates.

– Beer is high in carbs – A regular 12 oz beer contains 10-15 grams of carbohydrates, mostly in the form of maltose or malt sugar. The carbs account for most of the calories.

– Beer contains minimal nutrients – Unlike wine, beer has little to no antioxidants or nutrients. The calories from beer are considered “empty” calories.

– Drinking leads to increased food intake – Alcohol lowers inhibitions which can lead to increased eating, particularly unhealthy snacks like chips, dips, fried foods. This compounds total calorie intake.

– Beer contains carbonation – Carbonated beverages like beer may cause bloating which can give the appearance of weight gain in the belly region.

So in general, consuming large amounts of beer on a regular basis can lead to excess calorie intake, carb/sugar intake, increased food consumption, and abdominal weight gain or that “beer belly”. Moderation is key if trying to maintain weight and health.

Nutrition Info for Modelo Especial

Now that we’ve covered why beer tends to be fattening in general, let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for Modelo in particular:

Modelo Especial Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 12 oz (355 ml)
Calories 148
Carbohydrates 12.6 g
Protein 1.4 g
Fat 0 g

Based on the nutrition information, a 12 oz serving of Modelo Especial contains 148 calories, mainly from the 12.6 grams of carbohydrates. It contains a small amount of protein and no fat.

This calorie and carb content is typical for a standard lager-style beer. For instance, other popular regular lagers like Corona, Heineken, and Budweiser have very similar nutrition profiles, with around 150 calories and 10-15 grams of carbs.

So a single Modelo beer is not too high in calories compared to other beers. The issue arises when consuming 2, 3, or 4+ beers in one sitting, which can quickly add up to a high calorie intake, not to mention the alcohol.

It’s the regular overconsumption of beers like Modelo that contributes to excess calorie intake for many people.

Factors that Influence Fattening Potential of Modelo

While the nutrition facts tell part of the story, there are several additional factors that influence just how fattening drinking Modelo may be:

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of beer affects how many calories are in each serving. Modelo Especial contains 4.4% alcohol by volume, which is standard for a lager-style beer. Beers with higher alcohol content, like IPAs or stouts, often have more calories.

The alcohol itself contains 7 calories per gram, which contributes to the calorie count. The alcohol in Modelo makes up a small portion of its total calories.

Serving Size

A single 12 oz serving of Modelo Especial has 148 calories. However, many bars and restaurants serve beer in 16-20 oz pint glasses, which would up the calories per serving.

Drinking multiple beers means multiplying the calories. For example, three 16 oz Modelo’s would add up to over 600 calories – a significant calorie addition to anyone’s diet.

When beer drinking gets excessive, the calories can rack up quickly.


The majority of Modelo’s calories come from its carbohydrate content, mainly in the form of maltose or malt sugar. These carbs and sugars get converted to fat if consumed in calorie excess.

Modelo is not a low-carb or reduced carb beer. Certain beer styles like light lagers have fewer carbs and calories, but Modelo would not be categorized as a low-carb beer.

Mixers & Food Pairings

Many people enjoy Modelo with salt and lime, or mixed as a Michelada with tomato juice, hot sauce and spices. These additions can significantly increase calories and salt intake.

Drinking beer before or during meals also leads to increased eating and making unhealthy food choices. Beer’s effect on lowering inhibitions causes most people to eat larger portions.

So while Modelo itself is not extremely high in calories, what it is paired with can boost its fattening potential.

Tips for Drinking Modelo without Weight Gain

If you want to keep enjoying Modelo without over-consuming calories, here are some tips:

Practice Moderation

Limit Modelo drinks to 1-2 per day for men and 1 per day for women. Avoid binge drinking as the calories add up fast.

Avoid Mixers & Salt

Drink Modelo straight from the bottle instead of with lime, salt, juices or other high calorie mixers. Also skip the chips and dip that are easy to overeat when drinking.

Hydrate Between Beers

Alternate each beer with a glass of water. This helps control total alcohol and calories while keeping you hydrated.

Eat Before & Avoid Drunk Eating

Have a protein & fiber-rich meal before a night of drinking. This results in fewer poor food choices later when judgement is impaired.

Compensate With Exercise

Counteract the extra beer calories with more activity. Plan active outings like beach volleyball that involve drinking and exercise.

Stick to Light Beer

For a lower calorie option, swap every other Modelo for a light beer. For example, Michelob Ultra has about 100 fewer calories than Modelo.

The Verdict on Modelo & Weight Gain

Is Modelo itself a fattening beer?

Modelo is not extremely high in calories or carbs compared to other standard lager-style beers. A single 12oz serving only has 148 calories and 12.6g carbs.

However, it’s not a low calorie or low carb option either. And the calories can accumulate with overconsumption, especially in large serving sizes.

Will drinking Modelo lead to weight gain?

Occasionally enjoying 1-2 Modelo’s with a meal is unlikely to lead to significant weight gain. But habitual heavy drinking, especially when paired with salty foods, can easily add excess calories leading to fat storage and abdominal weight gain over time.

As with any food or beverage, moderation and balance is key. Modelo can be enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle. But it should be consumed in limited quantities for those concerned with managing calories and weight.

The Bottom Line

Modelo is not the most fattening beer choice out there, especially when limited to one serving. Like other beers, it is best consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Avoid overdoing it on servings, pairs well with healthy foods instead of greasy snacks, stay hydrated between beers, and compensate with more physical activity.

As long as you’re smart about how much and how often you drink it, Modelo can definitely be enjoyed without sabotaging your weight goals. While no beer is a health drink, Modelo isn’t significantly worse than other beers in terms of calories and potential weight gain. Just be mindful of your personal tolerance and tendency to overindulge when making choices about your Modelo consumption.

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