Dietary compensation for energy provided as ethanol is reportedly limited. Whether this is a function of the ethanol or other aspect of the medium in which it is ingested is not known. Eight male and eight female adults ingested 1.08 liters of beer (5.0% ethanol w/v, 1891kJ), light beer (2.9% ethanol w/v, 1197kJ), no-alcohol beer (0.1% ethanol w/v, 816kJ), cola (1749kJ) or carbonated water (0kJ) every 3-4 days with a midday meal. Diet records were kept the preceding day and day of beverage ingestion. Energy intake was significantly higher each day an energy-bearing beverage was consumed relative to its preceding day. A literature review revealed dietary compensation for modifications of energy intake via fluids is less precise than when solid foods are manipulated. These findings demonstrate dietary adjustment for energy derived from ethanol is imprecise, but also indicate energy from carbohydrate elicits little dietary response when ingested in a beverage.