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Vodka vs Tequila: Which is Healthier?

If you enjoy alcohol and happy hour, it is one thing that could be a deal breaker when it comes to finding a health plan that works for you. Alcohol can be used in many social settings, to experience a new restaurant, while on vacation or can pair perfectly well with a delicious meal. When trying to improve the quality of your diet- alcohol can be one component of your daily life that you reevaluate.

There are a lot of myths out there regarding alcohol and health benefits. Tequila is one of those liquors that are commonly touted as "healthy". While tequila and vodka can both fit into a healthy diet- they do not have much nutritional value (most of the calories come from alcohol alone) and are not likely to provide a whirlwind of benefits as we would hope when seeing some of these articles.

Vodka versus Tequila- which should I choose?

Let's look at the nutrition of each!

VODKA: 1.5 oz. of 80 proof (40% ABV): 96-98 calories, 0 g carb, 14 g alcohol

TEQUILA: 1.5 oz. of 80 proof (40% ABV): 96-98 calories, 0 g carb, 14 g alcohol

So nutritionally- pretty equal! Tequila is often referred to as a lower calorie liquor. This may be because tequila is often no higher than 40-60% ABV (standard 40%), vodka can get up to 95% ABV (meaning that it would contain more calories because it contains more alcohol). Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram of alcohol (for comparison carbohydrates are 4 calories/gram, fat is 9 calories/gram and protein is 4 calories/gram). The higher the ABV, the higher the caloric content. The standard for both of these liquor is 40% ABV, however.

Here is the alcohol content of some of your favorite vodkas:

Tito's: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Belvedere: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Absolut: 80-100 proof (40-50% ABV)

Smirnoff: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Kettle One: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Grey Goose: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Here is the alcohol content of some of your favorite tequilas:

Casamigos: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Don Julio Blanco: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Jose Cuervo Silver: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Patron: 80 proof (40% ABV)

Milagro: 80 proof (40% ABV)

El Jimador: 80 proof (40% ABV)

What is vodka and tequila made from?

Vodka is made from many different substances which is important for those with allergies to be aware of (like gluten). Vodka can be made from wheat, rye, potatoes, barley or fruit. Tequila is made from blue agave, with gold tequila often having caramel color or other additives to give it the gold hue. With choosing a tequila, I recommend choosing one made from 100% pure agave.

Doesn't agave have health benefits?

While tequila has a lot of health myths surrounding it, those are actually attributed to the agavins in the blue agave plant. Agavins are a type of prebiotic that can have health benefits and can provide sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels too much. However, agavins are fermented during the production of tequila and aren’t actually in the liquor.

So what is the final verdict?

Vodka and tequila are nutritionally the same. If you notice one impacting you poorly- choose the one that leaves you feeling better after the fact. If you have a gluten allergy, make sure to choose a potato based vodka or tequila. Pay attention to what is going into the drink with the alcohol as well. Focus more on what you are mixing the liquor with. @fevertreemixers has some great lower sugar options, using fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice, soda water, herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil and controlling the simple sugar you add yourself are all ways to be mindful of your happy hour 🥂

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