Why Does Hard Seltzer Make Me Sick? What is in it?!

A few of my friends just can’t drink much hard seltzer and says it makes them sick. This doesn’t seem to happen to me but there must be a reason for it.

I want to look at just what about the various hard seltzers might make one person fell sick but not another.

Why does hard seltzer make me sick?

A hard seltzer can make you sick in a number of ways. They contain alcohol which can make you feel drunk or affect you in lots of ways. Acid reflux is always a problem with fizzy alcoholic drinks and there is always the possibility of the can just being off.

For a full in-depth look at just what in a hard seltzer can make you sick and why, read the article below.

How much alcohol is in a hard seltzer?

In terms of alcohol and volume, Hard Seltzer have exactly the same as a standard beer. They both are 12fl oz in volume and 5% alcohol by volume. 

Hard Seltzer is the equivalent on a beer in terms of alcohol content.

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 Spirit40%
Standard Drinks

So as you can see, a standard beer is a 12fl oz and 5% alcohol by volume beer, which has the same alcohol as 5fl oz of 12% wine and a 1.5fl oz shot of 40% spirit.

Which alcohol is in a hard seltzer?

The alcoholic base in White Claw for example, is a pure spirit which is five times distilled from corn. Corn is not an unusual base for a spirit but will initially make a pure and flavourless alcohol to mix with the seltzer flavours.

This makes White Claw somewhat unique in the hard seltzer world as nearly all of its rivals are based on a sugar cane distillation. Topo Chico is the only other difference product with a alcohol based on agave.

Full article here

How many hard seltzers to get you drunk?

The CDC states it takes the average 160lb adult male, 4 standard beers to get drunk. A standard beer is 12fl oz and 5% ABV which is the same as a Hard Seltzer. 

The 4 Hard Seltzers have to be drank over 1-2 hours. If you are a female or lighter then it will take less Hard Seltzer, if you are a significantly heavier male, it may take 5+ Hard Seltzers to get drunk.

How can alcohol affect you and make you feel sick?

Even a little alcohol can make you feel unwell. It can start to affect you in the normal was as your blood alcohol level rises.

Lots of informational websites include this data now.

  • 0.02% – Probably the lowest measurable BAC where you can track any brain issues. You may feel more relaxed and potentially make poorer decisions.
  • 0.05%: When you hit this BAC, your behaviour will may become over exaggerated. Speak louder and gesturing more are common. You may also begin to lose control of small muscles like the ones that control your eyes leading to blurry vision.
  • 0.08%: This is the current legal driving limit in the U.S and many areas around the world. It is also the legal definition of intoxicated in the US. You will likely lose some coordination, so your reaction times, speech, balance, and even hearing will deteriorate.

Some people can be allergic to or have a reaction to alcohol, even at very low doses.

Different ethnicities have variations of some genes that are needed to break down alcohol. This can make their blood alcohol concentration spike quicker.

Notable examples would be people of Asian or Native American descent can have reduced levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol. 

Can the carbonation in a hard seltzer make you feel sick?

Yes, the bubbles in a hard seltzer can make you feel sick in a number of ways.

The bubbles can fill up your stomach and give you a very full or bloated feeling. This can take some time to dissipate and you might not be able to or want to eat or drink more during this time.

Also, the bloated stomach, filled with gas, can force the stomach contents back up the food pipe and cause acid reflux.

Do hard seltzers cause acid reflux?

Hard seltzers can be a potential trigger for acid reflux if you are prone to it. They are acidic, carbonated and contain alcohol. All three are separate risk factors for acid reflux. 

The more acidic a drink the more it irritates the stomach, carbonation distends and irritates and alcohol can have a number of effects to cause acid reflux.

Read more about hard seltzers causing acid reflux

Can a hard seltzer go off?

Like most products, a hard seltzer has a use by date, which is designed to enjoy it before it degrades. 

If you store a hard seltzer at extremes of heat or cold it can affect the flavour and in terms of heat, raise the possibility of it going bad.

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