Will IPAs Make You Fat? (Typical Calories and Carbs Per 12 ounces)

IPAs are delicious beers but do they have a dark side? Will a few too many IPAs make you fat over time?

IPAs can make you fat if you drink in excess and consume more calories than you burn. India Pale Ale style beers are full of calories that provide no nutritional benefit. Each 12-ounce IPA contains 200-300 calories, or roughly 10% of the average recommended caloric intake. If you’re having two IPAs a night, it’s comparable to a slice of cake a day.

When you’re trying to watch your weight, you should keep an eye on what you drink. IPAs will affect your diet in a number of ways.

Are IPA beers high in calories?

Calories, calories, calories. While most folks don’t actively count their calories, they can still have a large effect on your health.

It is easy to think of calories in the sense of food, but the calories in drinks often get overlooked. Beer is definitely a big source of calories.

IPAs are high in calories – especially when compared to other common beers. The calories in beer come from alcohol content and carbs, both of which are in higher concentrations in IPAs.

An average IPA is close to a plain bagel with cream cheese. Two is comparable to a slice of birthday cake.

Alcohol itself has calories. The calorie count is roughly 7 calories per gram of alcohol. For context, fat has roughly 9 calories per gram. Ignoring everything else in beer, IPAs will have more calories by virtue of the style’s high average alcohol content

The carbohydrates in beer come from the cereals used in the brewing process. If these cereals are not perfectly digested by the yeast (which is quite normal) they will leave some residual carbs. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram. 

Between these two factors, IPAs are quite high in calories. Lower ABV IPA beers will have fewer calories, but since the style often has a high ABV this is less common. 

Calories in IPA beers compared to other styles

That said, surely the difference can’t be that large? We’ve all heard that beer will give you a beer belly. The gap between IPAs and other beers shouldn’t be extreme.

IPAs can have between 200 and 300 calories in a 12-ounce beer. 

Beer StyleAverage Calories (per 12 oz)
American Lager 120-150
American IPA190-220
English IPA150-210
Imperial Stout210-360
Irish Stout120-150

The average calories above are based on average ABV ranges for each style. Beers with a higher ABV than average for the style will have more calories and vice versa. 

Can you drink IPA and still lose weight?

You may be wondering if you have to drop IPAs from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. Thankfully, the answer is no, but you’ll have to budget your calories as it were. 

You can drink IPAs and still lose weight. That said, you’ll need to account for the calories they add to your diet. Reduce the number of IPAs you drink, reduce other empty calories, and increase your exercise routine.

Sad though it may be, you should drink fewer IPAs if you want to lose weight. Each IPA you have is chock full of calories with next to no nutritional benefit. Try to make one beer last when you drink. 

If you drink IPAs and have another source of empty calories in your diet, try to reduce the other source. Maybe this is reducing the amount of soda you drink. Too many empty calories and you’ll find losing weight more difficult than it already is. 

Lastly, try to exercise more to offset the IPAs. The more calories you burn weekly, the less beer will affect your progress. 

How many calories should the average person consume each day?

To determine whether you can keep drinking IPAs, you need to know two things.

First, how many calories you currently consume per day.

Second, how many calories you should consume per day.

The average woman should consume 2,000 calories per day, while men should consume 2,500 calories on average. A healthy intake of calories is dependent on an individual’s age, height, weight, and sex.

There are many factors that determine how much you should consume each day. In addition to the above factors, your level of activity is also important. 

There are a few ways to figure out how much you should consume. One of which is the MyPlate tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Another helpful resource is the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

How does alcohol affect weight gain or loss?

You also need to know about how alcohol affects weight gain aside from being a source of calories. 

Alcohol can slow down your fat metabolism. The liver can contribute to weight loss by metabolizing lipids. When the liver has to metabolize alcohol instead, it slows that process.

When there is no alcohol in your system, the liver can break down fatty acids. This is great for weight loss. Alcohol naturally overtaxes the liver and prevents this process. The more often there is alcohol in your system the less often the liver can contribute to lipid metabolism. 

Even when you haven’t consumed any beer, alcohol has a few residual effects that can slow lipid metabolism. 

Do IPAs give you moobs?

Lastly, there have been urban myths surrounding the hops in IPAs and moobs (man boobs, if you haven’t seen Fight Club). The myth even seems to have some scientific basis as there is a chemical in hops that is a phytoestrogen.

IPAs will not give you moobs or man boobs. The beer does not have a high enough concentration of phytoestrogen to have a noticeable effect on the human body. 

8-prenylnaringenin, the phytoestrogen in hops, is not present in beer in large enough quantities to do much of anything. Even in a study to determine whether standardized hop extracts could positively affect women, there was no noticeable effect.