How Healthy Are Those Spiked Seltzers, Anyways?

From carbs to alcohol content, here's everything you need to know about hard seltzer.

various brands of hard seltzer canned drinks

Photo: Total Wine/Drizly

Is it just us, or is hard seltzer going to rule the pool this season as summer's beverage of choice? We've seen spiked seltzer brands start to pop up over the last few years, but 2019 is proving to be their year. And with a whole host of flavors, from Aldi's Coconut Mango to Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer's Black Cherry Rosemary, there's no shortage of exciting options to choose from these days.

But is spiked seltzer healthy? We took a deep dive to help you find out what you need to know about this popular beverage.

What Is Spiked Seltzer?

The first hard seltzer brand came on the market in 2013. Initially called Spiked Seltzer it has since rebranded as Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. Their products are made from water, corn syrup, natural flavors, sodium citrate, and malted rice. Many brands use similar ingredients-though some replace corn syrup with cane sugar.

You may have assumed the alcohol in spiked seltzer was vodka or another clear alcohol, but you're actually just drinking sweetened seltzer water that has been fermented! The sugars added to the seltzer are fermented to produce alcohol in the same way sugars in barley are fermented to make beer. But because the seltzers don't contain any wheat or barley, almost all of them are gluten-free!

Spiked Seltzer Nutrition Information

While there are many hard seltzer brands out there these days, the majority of them stack up similarly when it comes to nutrition. Below, you will find nutrition information for a 12-oz can from three of the most popular brands right now:

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer: Calories: 90, Carbs: 2g, Sugars: 2g

White Claw: Calories: 100, Carbs: 2g, Sugars: 2g

Truly: Calories: 100, Carbs: 1g, Sugars: 1g

There really isn't one hard seltzer brand that is healthier than the rest. Compared with the beers or cocktails you may be considering this summer, any of them are certainly a lower-calorie option. But remember, calories and carbs aren't the only things to be mindful of.

How Much Alcohol Is in Spiked Seltzer Cans?

ABV percentages vary slightly amongst the brands. Of the ones mentioned above, Bon & Viv contains 4.5% alcohol, while White Claw and Truly have 5%. These percentages are similar to a standard 12-oz bottle of domestic beer, which typically ranges between 4-5% ABV. (Though some craft beers can have ABV percentages of 11% or more, so be careful!)

The Bottom Line

While hard seltzer is lower in calories and sugar than many other fun summer cocktails, it's still important to drink responsibly. While low in calories and carbs, flavored spiked seltzers each still has one "serving" of alcohol-and there are plenty of health risks (both short and long term) that come from drinking in excess. We advise following the moderate alcohol consumption recommendations of one 12-oz bottle of beer for women and two for men per day when drinking hard seltzer.

Regardless of calorie and carb content, recent research is starting to find that no amount of alcoholic may actually be healthy. However, these low-sugar drinks can be considered better for you than their margaritas or beer alternatives for weekends by the pool. The healthiest way to consume them, however, is by pacing yourself and drinking responsibly-and making sure to stay hydrated. Cheers!

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