Gin Nutrition Facts and Health Tips

gin

Alexandra Shystman / Verywell 

Gin is a distilled beverage made from juniper berries. The origin of gin is a subject of debate—some believe that it was developed by 11th-century Benedictine monks in Italy, where it became popular for its medicinal benefits. Others have linked it to the development of jenever, a traditional Dutch and Belgian liquor, which is also used medicinally.

Today gin is used in popular alcoholic drinks such as the gin and tonic, gin fizz, or gin rickey. While some report that gin can provide health benefits, there is very little high-quality evidence to support those claims.

Gin Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for one shot (42g or 1.5 ounces) of 80 proof gin (40% alcohol by volume).

  • Calories: 97
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0.42mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Alcohol: 14g

Carbs

A single serving of gin is about 1.5 ounces or one shot (also called a jigger). There are zero carbs in a single serving.

However, some flavored gins may include additional ingredients that can change the nutrition facts. For example, certain brands of strawberry gin have 1 to 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving because of the flavorings that are added. Also, many cocktails made with gin include ingredients that contain carbohydrates. For example, tonic water provides 8.5 carbs—all sugar—per 100ml serving.

The glycemic index (GI) of gin is zero. The glycemic index is a ranking system that measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar. Since gin has no carbs, it is not measured for its GI ranking.

Fats

There is no fat in gin.

Protein

Gin provides no protein.

Calories

A shot of 80 proof gin is 40% ABV and provides 14 grams of alcohol. Each gram of alcohol provides 7 calories. Therefore, all of the calories in gin come from alcohol.

Vitamins and Minerals

While there are trace minerals in gin (phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc), you will not gain any substantial micronutrients when you consume it.

Health Benefits

There are some purported health benefits of drinking gin. Because juniper berries are used to make gin, some believe that you will gain health benefits associated with juniper when you drink this spirit.

Juniper berries are known to contain antioxidants. They have also been linked to better digestive health and even the prevention and management of conditions including cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Currently, there is no evidence that drinking gin will provide these benefits. Alcohol consumption, in general, may provide certain benefits. But for every benefit there is a potential drawback, depending on the dose.

Cardiovascular Health

Some widely cited studies have shown that habitual light to moderate alcohol intake (up to one drink per day for women and one or two drinks per day for men) is associated with a decreased risk for total mortality, and conditions including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke.

Studies often investigate red wine consumption for heart-healthy benefits, but one study found that drinking gin helped reduce inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis as well as red wine.

However, study authors also stress that higher levels of alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

Stress Reduction

Alcohol is often used as a quick and easy way to reduce stress. This benefit is supported by research evidence. Studies dating back into the 1980s and before have shown that moderate alcohol consumption can help reduce stress. More recent research also shows that moderate alcohol consumption may help you rebound faster after you experience a mental stressor.

However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes that the relationship between stress and alcohol is tricky. Turning to alcohol to manage stress can affect physical and mental health.

Diabetes Prevention and Management

A 2014 study showed that light to moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. But this study also noted that there is a complicated relationship between alcohol and glucose control. Research about the relative benefits and risks of alcohol consumption in those with type 2 diabetes has been inconclusive.

Bone Health

Research has examined the relationship between alcohol intake and bone health. One study showed that light alcohol intake (one to two drinks, two to three times a week) was linked to higher bone mineral density. Non-drinkers and heavy drinkers had a slightly higher risk for osteoporosis than light drinkers.

However, a large-scale research review published in 2003 concluded that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption compromises bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis. More recent studies have confirmed these findings.

Adverse Effects

Even though drinking alcohol can provide certain benefits, there are evidence-based drawbacks if you drink too much. These adverse effects should be considered if you choose to include gin in your diet.

The USDA's 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides guidance for the consumption of alcohol with a few notes of caution. According to federal recommendations, moderate alcohol consumption can be incorporated into the calorie limits of most healthy eating patterns. The USDA also provides guidelines about the amount of alcohol to consume.

According to the USDA, if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—one drink or less per day for women and two drinks per day or less for men—and only by non-pregnant adults of legal drinking age.

A standard drink is considered to be:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor

The NIAAA endorses the USDA's guidelines for moderate drinking. Government health experts do not recommend that you start drinking if you don't currently drink.

Also, because alcoholic beverages are not a component of the USDA healthy dietary food patterns, if you do choose to consume alcohol, the calories in your beverage should be accounted for so that recommended calorie limits are not exceeded.

If you drink more than the guidelines suggest, the NIAAA advises that you put yourself at higher risk for harmful consequences or adverse health effects.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is one consequence of consuming too much alcohol. Binge drinking (usually four drinks for women and five drinks for men in about two hours) or heavy alcohol use (more than four drinks on any day for men or more than three drinks for women) puts you at higher risk for AUD.

Signs of AUD may include drinking more than you had intended, being unable to cut back, or continuing to drink despite problems with family or friends. The disorder can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

Increased Stress and Loneliness

Loneliness and stress may put you at higher risk for AUD. Feeling lonely and stressed may increase the compulsion to overdrink. And drinking too much during stressful times may lead to increased stress and potentially increased loneliness.

Major stressors can have lasting effects. For example, increased exposure to news reports about the the 9/11 attacks in New York City, plus a past history of alcohol use problems, predicted heavier drinking in the year after the event. Greater exposure to the attack was associated with binge drinking even five to six years later.

Long-term, heavy drinking can lead to increased anxiety and a decreased ability to deal with stress due to the release of higher amounts of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. According to the NIAAA, a long-term heavy drinker may experience higher levels of anxiety than others when faced with a stressful situation.

Reduced Immune Health

Research has found an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects, such as the risk for pneumonia. Alcohol disrupts immune pathways that can impair the body’s ability to defend against infection. Drinking alcohol can contribute to organ damage and impede recovery from tissue injury.

Increased Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of premature death in the United States. Heavy alcohol use is one of the most common causes of reversible hypertension (high blood pressure), it accounts for a third of all cases of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, it is a frequent cause of atrial fibrillation, and it substantially increases the risk of stroke.

Overweight and Obesity

Alcohol consumption is associated with unhealthy weight gain and obesity. Heavy drinking is consistently related to weight gain. Moderate intake of alcohol does not seem to lead to weight gain over the short term, but alcohol intake may be a risk factor for obesity in some individuals.

Contraindications

There are some people who should not consume alcohol at all—even in limited amounts. For example, certain over-the-counter and prescription medications cause drowsiness and should not be taken with alcohol. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice.

People who are pregnant should not drink alcohol, since prenatal alcohol exposure can result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD. This exposure can result in lifelong physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems in a child.

If you plan to drive or operate machinery, you should abstain from alcohol. Those who are recovering from alcoholism or struggle with addiction should also avoid alcohol. Also, those with food allergies, celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity should check the manufacturer to be sure their beverage of choice is safe to consume.

Allergies

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there are reported cases of alcohol allergy. Symptoms may include rash, swelling, or throat constriction. If you experience any related or unusual symptoms after consuming gin, talk to your health care provider for personalized advice.

Also, juniper allergy is a known allergy. If you have a juniper allergy, you should not consume gin.

Varieties

There are flavored varieties of gin, but not as many as you'll find with other varieties of liquor. For example, there are strawberry flavored gins, and gins made using floral and tea extracts. You'll also find damson gin (flavored with a plum-like fruit), blood orange, lavender, and lemon-flavored gins.

Storage and Food Safety

Gin is usually served cold, so it is best kept in the refrigerator. You can also keep gin in the freezer. It's usually best to consume gin within a year after opening.

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