Is White Claw Unhealthy? A Registered Dietitian Answers

Is White Claw Unhealthy? A Registered Dietitian Answers


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White Claw is one of the most popular spiked seltzer brands, and its “light” taste, along with the fact that real fruits are used, lends many consumers to believe it’s a healthy alcoholic drink option.

But what’s actually in White Claw and are there other ingredients than alcohol, carbonated water and fruit? Are there any ingredients that are questionable from a health perspective? Which White Claw drink is the healthiest? And how does White Claw stack up to other spiked seltzer brands when it comes to its ingredients?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in White Claw based on medical studies to give our take on whether the drinks are healthy or unhealthy.

We’ll compare White Claw to other spiked seltzer brands to give our pick for the healthiest option in the category, as well as highlight some ingredients in White Claw that may be questionable.

Ingredient Analysis

White Claw Black Cherry flavor ingredients

The ingredients in White Claw Black Cherry flavor are shown above.

We’ll start with the good news first:

  • This drink is relatively low in calories (only 100 calories per can – 33% less than one standard beer according to the USDA). This suggests that White Claw may be a good option for those trying to lose weight.
  • Contains real fruit juice which is clinically shown to be rich in antioxidants.
  • 5% alcohol by volume is similar to other alcoholic drinks of the same size, and is unlikely to cause accidental intoxication.

Here are the potential downsides:

  • Refined sugar intake may promote obesity according to a 2020 clinical trial. The sugar dose (2 grams) in White Claw is low, but we would much prefer a drink sweetened with fruit juice only
  • Citric acid has been clinically shown to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals, as documented in our review of Vitamin Water ingredients.
  • Natural flavors is a healthier alternative to artificial flavors, but still may pose some health concerns according to a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.

Overall, we consider White Claw to be healthier than some flavored alcoholic drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade which provide high doses of refined sugar, but we don’t consider White Claw healthy given the questionable additive ingredients highlighted above.

But does White Claw get you drunk faster than standard alcoholic drinks? And what’s our pick for the healthiest spiked seltzer drink? We’ll discuss in the next sections.

How Fast Does White Claw Cause Intoxication?

A YouTube creator named Loryn Powell did an at-home test with a breathalyzer to see how many White Claws it took her to reach a 0.08 blood alcohol level (BAC), which is the legal limit used to determine intoxication for driving according to the Department of Justice.

We do not recommend using this video for legal guidance, it’s purely for entertainment value:

A video from the “REACT” YouTube channel features older adults trying White Claw for the first time and sharing their thoughts:

Our Healthy Spiked Seltzer Pick

Spindrift Spiked is our top hard seltzer pick.

All flavors of this seltzer brand contain less than 100 calories per can, and are free of refined sugar and flavoring additives.

The brand does use citric acid, but we can’t find any spiked seltzer products free of sugar, flavoring additives and citric acid at the time of publishing this article. If we do find one, we’ll update this article and recommend it in this section.

Interested consumers can check out Spindrift Spiked at this non-affiliate link to the product page on the brand’s website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

White Claw is lower-calorie than most of its competitors and uses real fruit juice, however we don’t consider the brand to be healthy overall.

White Claw drinks contain refined sugar, flavoring ingredients and citric acid, all of which may have questionable health effects according to medical research cited in this article. We do not consider White Claw to be super unhealthy or dangerous in any way; we just believe it’s a mediocre option from an ingredient formulation perspective.

We recommend that health-conscious consumers choosing a spiked seltzer brand look for one that’s free of refined sugar and is sweetened and flavored entirely with fruit juice. If you come across a brand that’s also free of citric acid, please let us know and we’ll consider updating this article’s recommended product.