Where Do The 100 Calories In White Claw Come From? The breakdown

UK version of White Claw

White Claw (and indeed the whole hard seltzer market) are very keen to promote the fact they are a really low calorie and low carb alternative in the alcoholic drinks market. They plaster “100kcal” or “only 100 calories per can” over the can itself and most advertising literature. Is 100 calories per 12fl oz can good and if it is, where do the 100 calories in White Claw come from?

Where do the 100 calories in White Claw come from?

Around 95% of the calories in White Claw are directly from the alcohol. White Claw contains 14g of pure alcohol. The other 5% of calories come from the 2g of carbohydrates which is sugar. Alcohol is much more calorie dense than carbohydrate but the minimal amount of carbs in a White Claw helps keep the calories to 100.

How many calories are in alcohol, carbs and fat?

So how does a liquid drink make you put on weight, it isn’t like it is a donut or a pizza.

The answer lies in just how calorie dense alcohol really is.

SubstanceKCal per gram
Calories per gram

Gram for gram, alcohol contains much more calories than sugar and carbs. 

How many calories are in White Claw?

White Claw are very proud of the fact that their 12fl oz can only has 100kcal.

This works out at about 28kcal per 100ml, which for an alcoholic drink, is just about as low as you get.

How many calories are in beer?

The USDA say that the average alcoholic beer has 43kcal per 100ml which works out at 153kcal in a 12fl oz serving, this mirrors my own findings. 

I took a sample of 35 alcohol beers and found that the average calorie count was 43.2kcal per 100ml and 153.3 in a 12fl oz serving.

So i think a fair value is in the 150kcal per 12fl oz ball park for an alcoholic beer.

How many calories are in spirits?

All spirits are more or less the same in terms of calories. The distillation process leaves you with aromatic flavour compounds, alcohol and water.

We can use vodka as a surrogate for the entire spirit world.

The USDA state a standard measure of vodka has 97 kcal per standard 1.5 fl oz shot. That equates to about 215kcal per 100ml of vodka. This is based on a 40% ABV vodka. 

Some vodka are 37.5%, others are export strength at 43.5%, these will have slightly more or less calories per serving.

What is a standard drink?

The USDA and CDC have devised a list of “standard” alcoholic drinks. Each one contains the exact same amount of alcohol – 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces).

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit (e.g vodka)40%
Standard drinks

Each of these drinks will have roughly 98kcal (14 x 7) from alcohol alone before you add in any carbs and sugar.

If you are drinking an alcoholic drink, the trick is to minimise the extra discretionary calories that don’t come from the alcohol. That means reducing the carbs and sugar to as low as possible.

Is White Claw a standard drink?

A White Claw has the same size and alcohol by volume as a standard beer. Both are 12fl oz and have 5% ABV, therefore a White Claw is equal to a standard drink in terms of alcohol.

How many White Claws equals a shot of vodka?

A 12fl oz 5% ABV White Claw has the same alcohol (14g of pure alcohol), as a 1.5fl oz shot of 40% vodka. So the answer is 1 White Claw is equal to one shot of vodka or any spirit at 40% ABV.

A White Claw is equal to a shot of vodka, a standard glass of wine and a standard beer.

How many of White Claws 100 calories are from alcohol?

As i have shown above, all standard drinks have the same amount of alcohol. This is 14g.

A gram of alcohol has roughly 7kcal so if you have 14g the math is 14×7 = 98kcal

The 7kcal per gram of alcohol is slightly rounded up so i think the alcohol in a White Claw contributes to about 95kcal on its own. This means that 95% of the calories in a White Claw come from the alcohol.

What makes up the rest of the calories?

The only other thing in the White Claw that is going to contribute calories is the 2g of carbs.

The 2g is rounded slightly up, as is the facts that carbs have 4kcal per gram so i make it that the carbs in a White Claw contribute to about 5kcal of the 100kcal total. The carbs in question are not complex and simply sugar.

This means that the carbs or sugar in a White Claw only contribute 5% of the total calories.

Can you drink White Claw on the keto diet?

The Ketogenic diet or Keto diet for short, is a low carb and high fat diet which can offer many health benefits.

The aim is to slash your carb intake and replace it with fats, this puts your body into a state called a ketotic state or ketosis, hence the name.

When you enter this state, your body becomes much more efficient at burning fat for energy and therefore you lose your stored fat easier.

The most popular version would be the SKD – Standard ketotic diet. Your nutrient breakdown would be 70% fats, 20% protein and only 10% carbs.

You can drink White Claw on the keto diet as it only has about 0.6g of carbs per 100ml, which is very low.

Alcohol can slow your metabolism and is calorie dense but the actual amount of carbs you will be drinking is very low.

Where do the 100 calories in White Claw come from?

The 100 calories per can of White Claw are made up of about 95 calories from the 14g of alcohol, making the drink 5% ABV and the remaining 5 calories from 2g of carbs per can, in the form of sugar.

This is very impressive in a flavoured, 12fl oz can. A raw shot of spirit, like vodka, will have 95-98kcal per 1.5fl oz shot so White Claw are only adding an extra 5 calories per can in the form of carbs.

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