Is vodka high in calories and sugar?

Vodka is one of the most popular spirits worldwide, known for its versatility in cocktails and mixers. With its clean, neutral taste, many people view vodka as a “diet drink” due to its lack of sugar and carbs compared to other alcoholic beverages. However, while vodka itself does not contain sugar or carbohydrates, it is still a calorie-dense drink. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at vodka’s calorie, carb, and sugar content. We’ll also examine how it compares to other types of alcohol in terms of calories and nutritional value.

What are the calories in vodka?

Vodka contains about 64 calories per 1 fluid ounce (30ml) serving. This calorie count is based on vodka that is 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). Since a standard pour is around 1.5 ounces, a typical vodka drink would have approximately 96 calories.

This calorie count is less than most cocktails, wine, or beer. By comparison:

  • A 5oz glass of red wine has about 120-130 calories
  • A 12oz serving of beer contains 150-200 calories
  • A 1.5oz vodka cranberry cocktail has around 150 calories

So vodka has 20-30% fewer calories per ounce compared to other alcoholic drinks. However, those calories can still add up quickly since vodka is often mixed with sugary mixers like juice or soda. Drinking vodka neat or on the rocks is the lowest calorie option.

Does vodka have carbs and sugar?

Vodka itself is sugar-free and contains minimal carbohydrates. A 1.5oz serving contains less than 0.1g of carbs and sugar. This makes it a low-carb alcohol option.

However, vodka’s carb and sugar content rises quickly when it’s mixed into cocktails orpaired with sugary chasers and sodas. Some examples:

  • Vodka tonic – 1.5oz vodka + 6oz tonic water – 0g sugar
  • Vodka cranberry – 1.5oz vodka + 6oz cranberry juice – 32g sugar
  • Vodka and soda – 1.5oz vodka + 6oz soda – 38g sugar

As you can see, mixing vodka with juice, soda or syrupy mixers can drastically increase the carb and sugar content. From a calorie perspective, it’s best to enjoy vodka neat, on the rocks or in low-sugar/low-calorie mixers like sparkling water or diet soda.

Vodka nutrition facts

Here is the nutrition information for 1.5oz (one shot) of unflavored vodka:

Nutrition Facts 1.5oz Vodka (80 proof)
Calories 96
Fat 0g
Carbs 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g

As you can see, vodka itself has minimal nutritional value. It only provides empty calories from alcohol. There are no carbs, sugar, fat or protein.

Vodka vs. other types of alcohol

Compared to other popular alcohols, vodka is generally lower in calories:

Drink (1.5oz serving) Calories
Vodka (80 proof) 96
Gin (80 proof) 97
Rum (80 proof) 97
Whiskey (80 proof) 105
Red wine (5oz) 125
Sweet white wine (5oz) 121
Dry white wine (5oz) 117
Light beer (12oz) 100
Craft beer (12oz) 150-200

Vodka generally has 20-30% less calories than wine or beer per serving. However, it’s worth noting that these are based on standard serving sizes. In real world drinking, beer is often consumed in 12-16oz servings, while cocktails and wine are often served in 4-6oz pours.

When comparing real-world servings, the calorie difference is less significant. For example, a 12oz light beer has about 150 calories, while a 2oz vodka cocktail might have around 140 calories or more if mixed with juices, sodas or syrups.

So vodka offers a slight calorie advantage over other alcohol types, but the differences are modest in typical drinking scenarios.

Tips for reducing calories in vodka drinks

If you’re looking to cut back on calories from vodka, here are some simple tips:

  • Drink vodka neat or on the rocks – Skip sugary mixers and juices
  • Choose low-calorie mixers – Soda water, seltzer, diet soda, tonic water
  • Alternate with water – Have a glass of water between each vodka drink
  • Avoid high-sugar juices – Cranberry, orange juice, piña coladas
  • Use fresh citrus juices – Lime, lemon, grapefruit have less sugar than bottled juices
  • Limit portion sizes – Stick to 1-1.5oz pours of vodka
  • Skip sweet liqueurs – Flavored vodkas and schnapps add calories

With smart mixology choices, you can easily cut 100+ calories per cocktail. Over the course of several drinks, those savings really add up.

Does freezing or filtering vodka change the calorie content?

Freezing and filtering vodka does not significantly alter the calorie or carbohydrate content. These processes remove impurities and refine the texture and flavor, but have minimal impact on the basic nutritional profile.

Here is a comparison of how freezing/filtering affects vodka nutrition facts:

Vodka Type Calories (1.5oz) Carbs Sugar
Regular vodka (80 proof) 96 0g 0g
Filtered vodka (80 proof) 96 0g 0g
Frozen vodka (80 proof) 96 0g 0g

As you can see, the calorie and carb content is nearly identical across regular, filtered and frozen vodkas. So filtering or freezing will not reduce the calories or increase the nutritional value on its own. The only way to lower vodka’s calorie density is to cut back on portion sizes or sugary mixers.

Does flavored vodka have more calories?

Flavored vodka tends to be higher in both calories and sugar compared to regular unflavored vodka. Popular flavored vodkas like raspberry, vanilla or citrus get their flavors from added fruit juices, syrups and sugars.

For example:

  • 1.5oz flavored vodka – 110 calories
  • 1.5oz regular vodka – 96 calories

So while the calorie difference is relatively small, flavored vodka does typically have 15-20% more calories per serving compared to unflavored vodka.

In addition, flavored vodka contains 1-5g of sugar per serving, while regular vodka has zero sugar content. So if limiting both calories and sugar intake is a priority, stick with unflavored vodkas.

Does alcohol content affect vodka’s calories?

Higher proof vodka contains more calories, since it has a higher concentration of alcohol per ounce. Each gram of ethanol (pure alcohol) provides about 7 calories.

Some examples comparing different vodka proofs:

Vodka Type Alcohol by Volume Calories (1.5oz)
Regular vodka 40% ABV 96
Low proof vodka 35% ABV 84
High proof vodka 50% ABV 120

As shown above, high proof vodka with 50% alcohol content has about 20-25% more calories compared to a standard 80 proof vodka.

Diluting your vodka with water or ice can help reduce the calorie density. Many high proof vodkas are designed to be drank diluted rather than straight.

Does vodka have any nutrients or vitamins?

Vodka itself does not contain any significant nutrients, vitamins or minerals. Pure distilled vodka is made from fermented grain or potatoes that is then distilled to increase the alcohol purity and remove impurities. This intensive purification process leaves behind only ethanol (alcohol) and water.

Some vodkas may have trace amounts of:

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – 0% Daily Value
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 0% Daily Value
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) – 0% Daily Value
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) – 0% Daily Value

But these micronutrients amounts are negligible. Overall, vodka should not be viewed as a significant source of vitamins, minerals or nutrients.

Is vodka keto-friendly or paleo diet approved?

Vodka can fit into low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet or paleo diet since it contains zero carbs and sugar. However, vodka itself provides only empty alcohol calories – no beneficial nutrients.

Some considerations around vodka and low-carb diets:

  • Drink plain vodka – Avoid sugary mixers that can spike blood sugar
  • Watch your portions – excess calories from alcohol can slow fat burning
  • Hydrate well – alternate vodka drinks with water to avoid dehydration
  • Don’t rely on vodka for energy – alcohol provides rapidly burning calories but no nutrition

Overall, vodka can be an occasional paleo or keto-friendly drink choice, but it should not be heavily relied on. Optimal low-carb diets focus on nutrient-dense whole foods first and foremost.

Is vodka gluten-free?

Vodka is considered gluten-free, since traditional vodka is distilled from potatoes, grapes, or grains like sorghum, corn and rye. The distillation process removes the gluten proteins from the grains.

However, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should still use caution and only choose:

  • Vodkas labeled “gluten-free” – confirms no traces of gluten
  • Vodkas made from grapes, potatoes or corn – naturally gluten-free base ingredients
  • Double-distilled vodkas – additional distillation helps remove gluten

Avoid vodka with flavors or color added after distillation, as the additives could contain gluten.

Those with celiac disease are most sensitive and should look for certified gluten-free vodkas explicitly tested to contain less than 20ppm gluten.

Can vodka fit into a healthy diet?

Pure vodka offers no real nutritional value – only empty alcohol calories. However, it can fit into a healthy diet in moderation if precautions are taken:

  • Count vodka calories – don’t let them sabotage your daily calorie goals
  • Limit servings – 1 drink max per day for women, 2 for men
  • Avoid sugary mixers and juices – choose low/no calorie options like flavored seltzer
  • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – have water between each vodka drink
  • Eat plenty of nutrients – compensate for vodka’s empty calories with nutrient-dense foods
  • Hydrate well – have a glass of water before bed to avoid dehydration

Most health experts recommend limiting vodka or alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks max per day as part of an overall balanced diet. Drinking in moderation minimizes risks and negative effects. Within these limits, vodka can offer some enjoyment without derailing your nutrition goals. But moderation is key.

Potential downsides of vodka nutrition

While vodka is low in carbs, sugars, and calories compared to many alcoholic drinks, relying on it too heavily can pose some nutritional risks:

  • Empty calories – vodka provides only pure ethanol calories without nutrients
  • Fat storage – excess alcohol calories are readily stored as fat when consumed in surplus
  • Dehydration – alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing fluid loss
  • Poor nutrition – heavy drinking can displace nutrient-rich foods from the diet
  • Blood sugar crashes – alcohol can cause blood sugar highs and lows
  • Inflammation – chronic alcohol use is linked to inflammation
  • Weight gain – frequent heavy drinking is correlated with added belly fat over time

To minimize these downsides, vodka is best enjoyed in moderation alongside a balanced whole food diet and active lifestyle.


Vodka is a relatively low calorie alcoholic beverage, with around 100 calories per standard 1.5oz serving. It contains minimal carbs or sugar and virtually no nutrients. While vodka can fit into a low carb, paleo, or keto diet, it provides no real nutrition. For the healthiest diet, vodka is best limited to 1-2 drinks max per day, alternating with non-alcoholic drinks. Overall, vodka must be enjoyed responsibly as part of an active, balanced lifestyle to minimize potential downsides of excess empty alcohol calories. But enjoyed moderately, it can offer enjoyable social and relaxation benefits for some without derailing your nutrition goals.

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