The Shochu Diet

If you spend any time at all reading about shochu online, you’ll discover stories about the health benefits. Japanese researchers have shown that it prevents a variety of diseases and that moderate shochu consumption is healthy, much the same way scientists have decided that red wine is good for us.

What you’ll also see as part of sales pitches for shochu is that it is lower calorie than other alcohols. This is mostly true. While not every shochu is of the super-low calorie variety, many are. There are subtle differences based on alcohol content, but since most shochus are between 20% and 25%, the estimates are largely accurate. Though genshu (full strength) shochus are going to have a calorie count closer to vodka or gin.

Here’s are some commonly consumed alcoholic beverages ranked by calories per serving (ounces vary) according to

  • 300 calories: frozen margarita (16 oz)
  • 200 calories: gin & tonic (8 oz)
  • 178 calories: Jack & Coke (6 oz)
  • 150 calories: beer (12 oz) ~ varies by brand (96 for light to 166 for wheat)
  •   96 calories: red wine (4 oz)
  •   80 calories: white wine (4 oz)
  •   80 calories: bourbon/whiskey/scotch (1 oz)
  •   70 calories: vodka (1 oz)
  •   59 calories: gin (1 oz)
  •   35 calories: shochu (2 oz)

Our editor, Stephen Lyman, a research professor, decided to test this hypothesis. If he switched his alcohol consumption from beer, wine, and high proof spirits to shochu would he lose weight?

He started his experiment on September 1, 2011. On March 30, 2012 he reached his goal of a 15 lb weight loss. Congratulations, Stephen!




30 DAYS down 5 lbs.

6 WEEKS down 9.4 lbs.

8 WEEKS down 10 lbs.

9 WEEKS down 11.7 lbs.

11 WEEKS down 12.2 lbs.

13 WEEKS down 10 lbs.  (Thanksgiving happened)

18 WEEKS down 9 lbs. (Christmas, New Years happened)

21 WEEKS down 11.4 lbs.

30 WEEKS down 15.6 lbs.



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