Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is White Claw Bad For You?

Also Known As: White Claw Hard Seltzer



Short answer

White Claw's health impact hinges on moderation. With 5% ABV, it's similar to beer but has fewer calories, around 100 per can. While moderate consumption could offer some health benefits, risks include excessive drinking, health issues from alcohol, caloric intake, and interactions with medications. Artificial sweeteners and ingredients can pose additional risks, so reading labels is vital. Compared to other alcoholic drinks, it has less sugar and calories. However, it could still contribute to risky drinking behaviors due to its perception as 'healthier.' Acknowledging and understanding these factors is key to informed choices.



Long answer

Alcohol Content in White Claw: Pros and Cons

White Claw Hard Seltzer has gained massive popularity as a refreshing beverage that combines seltzer water, alcohol, and a hint of fruit flavor. When examining the health implications of White Claw, the alcohol content is a pivotal factor to consider. White Claw contains a standard serving of alcohol, around 5% alcohol by volume (ABV), similar to many beers. Here's a closer look at the potential pros and cons of the alcohol content in White Claw:


  • Moderate Consumption Benefits: Epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with certain health benefits, such as a decreased risk for heart disease and certain types of stroke. However, it's important to note that these findings are controversial, and the definition of 'moderate' varies among individuals.
  • Social Enjoyment: Many people enjoy alcoholic beverages like White Claw in social settings. As a lower ABV option compared to spirits, it can offer a lighter choice for those looking to partake in social drinking without consuming higher-alcohol options.
  • Calorie Control: For those counting calories, White Claw offers a standard option of around 100 calories per can. Its alcohol by volume content aligns with a single serving, making calorie counting more straightforward as compared to mixed drinks where the alcohol content can vary greatly.


  • Risk of Excessive Drinking: With refreshing taste and lower alcohol content, some individuals might be tempted to drink more than they would typically consume with stronger-tasting alcoholic beverages. Overconsumption can negate any potential benefits of moderate drinking and lead to rapid intoxication, impaired judgment, and increased health risks.
  • Health Risks: Consuming alcohol, including the alcohol in White Claw, can increase the risk of numerous health issues, such as liver disease, some cancers, and alcohol use disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities caution against beginning to drink or drinking more for any potential health benefits of alcohol.
  • Calorie Misconception: Despite being lower in calories than some beverages, regularly consuming White Claw can still contribute to caloric intake and potentially lead to weight gain. Calories from alcohol are considered 'empty calories,' as alcohol provides no substantial nutrients. Additionally, alcohol can stimulate appetite and reduce inhibitions, sometimes leading to increased food consumption.
  • Interference with Medications: Alcohol may interact with various medications, reducing their effectiveness or causing harmful side effects. Even the relatively modest alcohol content in White Claw can pose risks for individuals on certain medications.

In conclusion, the alcohol content in White Claw has its share of both benefits and drawbacks. The moderation of a consumer's overall drinking habits, individual health status, and personal lifestyle will all play crucial roles in determining how White Claw might affect their health. As always, it's recommended to consult a healthcare provider when considering the role of any alcoholic beverage in your diet, and to consume responsibly if you choose to drink.

Artificial Sweeteners and Additives in Hard Seltzers

Hard seltzers, including White Claw, have become increasingly popular as a low-calorie alcoholic beverage option. They are often marketed as a 'healthier' alternative to other alcoholic drinks. However, it's important to dive into the specifics, particularly when it comes to artificial sweeteners and additives that are often used in these beverages.

Many hard seltzers use artificial sweeteners to keep the calorie count low while providing a desirable sweet taste. Common sweeteners include sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium. These low- or no-calorie alternatives to sugar can have mixed effects on health.

  • Sucralose: Used for its non-caloric sweetness, it's generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but some studies suggest there might be adverse effects on glucose metabolism and gut bacteria (Meijing Le et al., 2020).
  • Aspartame: Another popular sweetener, aspartame breaks down into its constituent amino acids when consumed. While the FDA considers it safe, there are conflicting studies regarding its effects on appetite and associated links to metabolic disease (Soffritti et al., 2014).
  • Acesulfame potassium: Known as Ace-K, this sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar. A study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest raised concerns about potential carcinogenic effects, indicating the need for more comprehensive research (CSPI, 2016).

Apart from sweeteners, hard seltzers may contain additives like preservatives and flavor enhancers. Additives such as sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are commonly used to extend shelf life and maintain flavor consistency. While these are also deemed safe by regulatory agencies, some individuals report sensitivities to these compounds which can manifest as allergic reactions or digestive discomfort.

For those with specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, it is vital to read labels carefully. Products with natural flavorings and without artificial sweeteners may be more suited to individuals looking for a purer seltzer experience, although they may come with higher calorie counts.

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to consume hard seltzers like White Claw depends on personal health goals and sensitivities. Moderation is key, as with all alcoholic beverages. If you have concerns about artificial sweeteners or additives, consult a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your health history and current dietary needs.

Caloric and Sugar Comparison to Traditional Alcoholic Beverages

When evaluating the health impact of any alcoholic beverage, it's crucial to consider its caloric and sugar content in the context of similar products. White Claw Hard Seltzer has gained popularity partly due to its relatively low calorie and sugar counts, which appeal to health-conscious consumers. Let's delve into how White Claw stacks up against traditional alcoholic beverages.

Caloric Content: Most varieties of White Claw contain approximately 100 calories per 12-ounce can. This is significantly lower than many traditional beers, which can range from 150 to 200 calories or more for the same volume. Light beers can be more comparable, usually containing around 90 to 110 calories per 12 ounces. When it comes to wine, a 5-ounce serving generally contains 120 to 130 calories, making White Claw a less calorific option, especially for those who prefer a larger volume of beverage.

Sugar Content: One of the appealing factors of White Claw is its reduced sugar content. Each can contains only 2 grams of sugar, which is minimal when compared to many mixed cocktails and flavored malt beverages that can exceed 20-30 grams of sugar per serving. Even some beers and wines, particularly those that are sweet or flavored, may have higher sugar content, ranging from 1 to 10 grams and sometimes more.

Here is a basic comparison table breaking down the calorie and sugar contents found in White Claw versus other popular alcoholic beverages:

Beverage Volume Calories Sugar (g)
White Claw Hard Seltzer 12 oz 100 2
Regular Beer 12 oz 150-200+ 0-3
Light Beer 12 oz 90-110 0-1
Wine (Red/White) 5 oz 120-130 0.9-6.0
Flavored Alcoholic Beverages 12 oz 150-250+ 20-30+

As evidenced by the table, opting for a White Claw over other types of alcoholic drinks can result in a lower intake of both calories and sugar. This can be particularly beneficial for those who are trying to maintain a caloric deficit or are monitoring their sugar intake for health reasons, such as diabetes management or weight loss.

However, it's important to remember that alcohol itself contains calories that still contribute to your daily intake. Ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, contains approximately 7 calories per gram, regardless of the presence of sugars or other macronutrients. Therefore, mindful consumption is key, even with seemingly lighter options like White Claw.

Finally, while the lower sugar content is a positive attribute, consumers should be wary of associating the word "seltzer" with non-alcoholic, sugar-free sparkling water; alcoholic seltzers still contribute to caloric intake and can result in similar metabolic and intoxicating effects as other alcoholic beverages.

In conclusion, when compared to many traditional alcoholic beverages, White Claw does present as a lower-calorie and lower-sugar option, but it is not without its caloric cost due to the presence of alcohol. As with all dietary choices, moderation is essential, and understanding the content of your drinks plays an important role in making informed decisions about consumption.

White Claw's Role in Risky Drinking Trends

In the realm of alcoholic beverages, hard seltzers like White Claw have surged in popularity, particularly among younger adults. This trend prompts closer inspection regarding its potential influence on risky drinking behaviors. Understanding the health implications requires exploring the context in which these beverages are consumed and the perceptions surrounding them.

Perceived as a 'Healthier' Alcohol Choice

One of the primary concerns with White Claw is its marketing strategy, which often implies it's a 'healthier' or 'better-for-you' alcohol option. The brand capitalizes on buzzwords such as 'gluten-free,' 'low-calorie,' and 'natural flavors' to appeal to health-conscious consumers. A study published in the journal 'Alcohol and Alcoholism' suggests that drinks marketed in this way may encourage consumers to drink more than they normally would, under the false pretense that these options are less harmful to their health.

Contribution to Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion for men, or four or more for women, is a dangerous pattern of excessive alcohol use. The light and refreshing taste of White Claw, along with its sophisticated branding, can mask the perception of alcohol content, leading to unintentional overconsumption. An investigation into the drinking habits of millennials, as seen in 'The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse', indicated a preference for beverages that can be consumed quickly and in larger amounts, a category in which White Claw may fall.

Alcohol by Volume and Serving Size Misunderstanding

White Claw's alcohol by volume (ABV) is 5%, which is comparable to many beers. However, the sleek can and fruity flavors may obscure this fact, potentially misleading users about the amount of alcohol they are actually consuming. A public health report underscored the importance of serving size awareness, noting that consumers often underestimate their intake when drinking from larger containers or those not typically associated with alcoholic drinks.

Influence on Alcohol Tolerance and Dependency

The seemingly innocuous nature of hard seltzers can also influence drinking patterns that may impact tolerance and dependency. As noted in research from the 'Journal of the American College of Health', beverages perceived as less potent can lead individuals to develop a higher tolerance for alcohol, possibly accelerating the pathway to alcohol dependence, especially in college-aged populations.

Normalization of Daily Consumption

The social acceptability of White Claw and similar products may encourage a normalization of daily alcohol consumption. A study evaluating the dangers of daily drinking, irrespective of the alcohol type or brand, found a direct correlation with long-term health risks, including chronic diseases and cognitive decline. These risks are often overlooked when alcoholic beverages are branded as part of a 'balanced lifestyle'.

In conclusion, while enjoying a White Claw on occasion may not be inherently harmful, it is crucial to consider how the branding and perception of hard seltzers might contribute to risky drinking trends.

The Phenomenon of Hard Seltzers and Nutritional Myths

Hard seltzers, including popular brands like White Claw, have surged in popularity due to their refreshing taste, convenience, and the health-conscious image they project. These alcoholic sparkling waters often appear to offer a 'better-for-you' alternative to other alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, or spirits. Yet, it's essential to deconstruct some of the nutritional myths surrounding these beverages.

One of the primary myths is that hard seltzers are inherently healthy because they contain 'natural flavors' and lack certain additives found in other alcoholic drinks. It's crucial to understand that 'natural flavors' is a term that requires further scrutiny, as it can still consist of a blend of natural and artificial ingredients designed to mimic a natural flavor. While they are generally free of artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup, the alcohol and calorie content still contribute to your daily intake, which can impact overall health.

  • Caloric Content: Although marketed as a low-calorie option, a standard can of White Claw still contains around 100 calories, primarily from the alcohol itself. Consuming several cans can add a significant number of calories to your daily intake.
  • Alcohol Content: At approximately 5% alcohol by volume for a standard can, the ethanol content in hard seltzers poses similar risks to health as other alcoholic beverages when consumed in excessive amounts.
  • Sugar Myths: Many believe that hard seltzers are 'sugar-free.' However, while some brands may contain less sugar compared to other drinks, they may use sugar alcohols or other sweeteners that still have a caloric value and can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Gluten-Free Fallacy: Often advertised as gluten-free, they are assumed safe for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. However, not all hard seltzers are created equal, and cross-contamination is a risk in brands that don't strictly adhere to gluten-free production methods.

It is also widely believed that because these drinks are clear and water-based, they are hydrating. Contrarily, the diuretic effect of alcohol leads to increased urine production, which can result in dehydration rather than hydration. It's key to remember that drinking water alongside alcoholic beverages is crucial for maintaining hydration levels.

Peer-reviewed research such as the study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition which examines the effect of alcohol on macronutrient intake, suggests that alcohol can temporarily delay the feeling of fullness and could potentially lead to increased food consumption, thereby influencing overall nutritional intake and body weight.

Conclusively, while hard seltzers may occupy a tempting niche as a seemingly lighter alcoholic option, it remains vital to approach them with the same moderation and critical eye one would any other alcoholic beverage. Acknowledging and understanding these nutritional myths helps to make informed decisions about consumption, ensuring that one's diet aligns with their health goals and nutritional needs.

Frequently asked questions

While White Claw has a low sugar content, it can still affect blood sugar levels due to its alcohol content. Alcohol can interfere with the hormones that regulate glucose metabolism, potentially leading to hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, especially in individuals with diabetes or those who drink on an empty stomach.

Yes, like other alcoholic beverages, White Claw can have a diuretic effect, leading to increased urine production and potential dehydration. It's important to balance alcohol consumption with non-alcoholic, hydrating fluids like water, to help maintain adequate hydration levels.

In general, White Claw is marketed as a gluten-free beverage, making it an option for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. However, it's essential to check the label and ensure the specific product is certified gluten-free, as manufacturing practices can vary, and there is a risk of cross-contamination.

With around 100 calories per can and low sugar content, White Claw might seem suitable for weight management. But calories from alcohol add up quickly, and alcohol can stimulate appetite, potentially leading to overeating. Moderation is key, and it should be combined with a balanced diet for effective weight management.

Ask a question about White Claw and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • rapid intoxication
  • impaired judgment
  • increased food consumption
  • digestive discomfort
  • allergic reactions

Possible long-term side effects

  • liver disease
  • some cancers
  • alcohol use disorders
  • weight gain
  • tolerance development
  • alcohol dependency
  • chronic diseases
  • cognitive decline
  • potential influence on glucose metabolism and gut flora

Ingredients to be aware of


  • decreased risk for heart disease (controversial)
  • social enjoyment
  • caloric control when compared to other alcoholic beverages

Healthier alternatives

  • non-alcoholic sparkling water
  • naturally flavored seltzers without artificial sweeteners
  • light beers

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-06-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-06-2024

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