Key Takeaways:

  1. Underestimation of Liquid Calories: Often, we don’t account for the caloric impact of beverages like alcoholic drinks, juices, or sodas in our daily intake.
  2. Alcohol as a Calorie Culprit: Alcoholic beverages, particularly beer, can significantly contribute to calorie intake, comparable to consuming fast foods.
  3. Eye-Opening Comparisons:
    • Subway Sandwich: Two beers equate to the calories of a 6″ Subway Meatball Marinara.
    • Coca-Cola: Three beers have a similar calorie count to just over three cans of Coke.
    • French Fries: Five beers match the calories in two servings of McDonald’s french fries.
    • Ice Cream: The caloric equivalent of five beers is about three scoops of Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream.
    • Fast Food Tacos: Four beers equal almost three Taco Bell beef tacos.
    • Hamburgers: Consuming three beers is like eating two In-N-Out burgers.
    • Doughnuts: Six beers have as many calories as nearly five Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
    • Popcorn: Three beers equal nearly eight cups of buttered popcorn.
    • Oreos: Two to six beers can equate to consuming eight to over 22 Oreo cookies.
    • Pizza: The calorie count of a beer is similar to a slice of Domino’s pizza.
  4. Awareness and Moderation: This comparison sheds light on the need for greater awareness of liquid calories and moderation, especially when it comes to alcoholic beverages, to maintain a balanced diet.

What is One Beer Equivalent to in Food?

A single 12 oz. beer, averaging around 148 calories, might seem harmless at a glance.

However, when you start comparing it to food items, the calorie count becomes more tangible and, frankly, a bit startling. Here are some equivalents to give you a clearer picture:

The Idea Behind Behind the Calories in Beer

When we eat a snack in the afternoon or grab a big lunch, we’re usually pretty good at making up for that by eating less food later in the day. However, we rarely consider how many calories our favorite Starbucks drink, happy hour cocktail or even glass of juice is adding to our diets.

One of the biggest liquid calorie culprits is alcoholic drinks, with carb and calorie-heavy beer leading the way.

At HealthGrove, we translated all those beer calories into popular fast food items like doughnuts, pizza and french fries. This comparison will likely shock you more than the numeric facts on the can.

Note: The caloric value we used for a standard 12 oz. beer was 148 calories. All nutrition values for food items were sourced from the manufacturers’ websites.

Subway Meatball Marinara

Flickr: yum9me

You may not be hungry for a meal after dinner, but drinking a couple of beers will deliver the same amount of calories as eating a Subway sandwich. Coming in at just under 300 calories per sandwich, two beers is equivalent to a single 6″ Subway Meatball Marinara.


Flickr: Allen

A standard 8 oz. Coke has a pretty similar number of calories to the average beer. Drinking three beers is the same as drinking just over three cans of Coke.

The key here is that you never drink three cans of Coke in one sitting—but beer? Pretty much every weekend.

French Fries

Flickr: Daniel Y. Go

Notorious for their greasiness and addictive salty crunch, one serving of McDonald’s french fries carries as many calories as a small meal. With a single basket coming in at nearly 350 calories, your five-beer night is the same as eating two full baskets of fries.

Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream

Flickr: J Lippold

With a single scoop coming in at a whopping 230 calories, you might be shocked to find out that drinking five beers is the equivalent of eating about three scoops of ice cream.

Taco Bell

Flickr: The Culinary Geek

Drinking four beers is the caloric equivalent to wolfing down almost three full Taco Bell beef tacos. You might want to think twice about the beers if you’re going to end up at Taco Bell later in the night anyway.


Flickr: supercake

The standard burger from In-N-Out packs a whopping 243 calories each. Going out for happy hour after work? If you grab three beers, you may as well have just eaten about two hamburgers.


Flickr: 5th Luna

Having six beers on a Saturday night gives you as many calories as eating nearly five deep-fried, sugar-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Doing either is probably equally likely to make you throw up, though.


Flickr: Len Matthews

Drinking three beers is the same as eating nearly eight cups of Orville Redenbacher’s buttered popcorn. If you’re trying to watch your weight, you may want to stick with the popcorn—it’s way easier to accidentally drink three beers than to eat so much popcorn you want to cry.


Flickr: mihoda

Getting just a couple of beers with the gals translates to nearly eight Oreo cookies. Having a wilder night? Drinking six beers gives you the same number of calories as eating more than 22 Oreos.


Flickr: Rowen Atkinson

A slice of Domino’s pizza comes in at about the same number of calories as a beer. That might not sound too bad, but think about it this way: if you eat at Domino’s for dinner before hitting up the bars, you could end up consuming the equivalent of a full pizza before the night is through.

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