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How many calories in alcohol? From wine to beer, these are the drinks to avoid Wine News

It’s no secret that alcohol, whether it’s a pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a glass of whiskey, contains calories but has no nutritional value. hence the term “empty calories”. But do you know how many calories your favorite drink is causing you to lose?

Currently, there is no law requiring producers to publish the calorie content of alcohol, which means that the health implications of a trip to the pub or a bottle of wine with dinner boil down to guesswork. . That could be about to change, however, after the discovery of leaked government documents in April 2021 revealing that health chiefs want to force big pub chains to disclose the calorie content of their beers, wines and spirits.

It comes after the Alcohol Damage Commission pointed out in its 2021 Calorie Count for Alcohol report that people who drink regularly get almost 10% of their daily calorie intake from alcohol. , contributing to the current obesity crisis.

While it can be difficult to know the exact caloric content of your favorite stout, it is possible to make an educated guess. The calorie content of alcoholic beverages largely depends on the sugar / carbohydrate content and the percentage of alcohol. Alcohol has more influence because it contains more calories per gram than sugar (7g against 4g). So you might be surprised to learn that spirits, traditionally considered a higher calorie choice than beer or cider, can contain the same or more calories than low-alcohol drinks. If in doubt, opt for the lower ABV (alcohol by volume) drink.

It’s not just about the drink itself, either. The food we eat while drinking (or, of course, after a night of drinking) tends to be higher in fat and sugar, which contributes to higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, high blood sugar, and weight gain.

While reducing the number of alcoholic beverages you drink throughout the week is the most effective way to control the number of “empty calories” you consume, it’s easier said than done, especially now. that it’s summer. So how do you stay slim while enjoying a summer cocktail or two?

It helps to get an idea of ​​which drinks are particularly high in calories and which ones you can easily switch to a lower calorie option. Here’s the approximate calorie content of some of our favorites to help you make up your mind the next time you raise a drink.

Beer and cider

The calorie content of beer varies depending on the type; Drinkaware estimates that the average pint of beer (ABV 4%) contains 182 calories. However, a pint of beer with a higher blood alcohol level, such as beer or stout, can cause you to lose 250 calories or more, like a Mars bar.

Cider, due to its higher sugar content, is slightly more caloric than beer, averaging 215 calories in a pint at 4.5% blood alcohol.

Healthline suggests that an average pint of beer contains 12g of carbohydrate but 0g of sugar. Non-alcoholic beer, however, typically contains 28.5g of carbohydrate as well as 28.5g of sugar.

But the sugar content can also vary depending on the label, as Foster’s contains 2.7g of sugar per 100ml, which means that one pint contains just over 13.5g, or almost 27% of your recommended daily intake of sugar.


Red wine and white wine have similar nutritional profiles, despite the popular belief that red wine is more calorific than white. A 175ml glass of wine (13% ABV) contains around 160 calories – slightly less than a bag of Walkers Ready Salted crisps – with a large scoop (250ml) containing around 225 calories. A 175ml glass of wine with an ABV of 12%, in comparison, contains around 133 calories.

It is believed that there is about 0.8g of sugar in a medium sized glass of red wine and 1.4g in white wine, which is almost equivalent to the amount of a single slice of white bread.

If you want to watch your calorie intake while enjoying a drink, look for wines with lower ABVs, which are increasingly being counted by quality producers.

Sparkling wine

Champagne, prosecco and other sparkling wines are slightly lower in calories than red or white wine. A 125 ml glass of champagne contains around 89 calories, while prosecco contains around 86; the equivalent of a chocolate digestive cookie.

It is also estimated that a glass of prosecco contains around 1g of sugar, which has led some to call it “one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks”.


Again, the calorie content of spirits differs depending on the alcohol and sugar content. A single shot (25ml) of rum has 61 calories, while a shot of cream liqueur has around 80 and a shot of gin around 97.

One of the highest calorie spirits is, surprisingly, vodka, which has an average of 110 calories. This, of course, is due to the alcohol content of the vodka, which can range from 40% upwards; the strongest vodka available for purchase in the UK is Balkan 175, which has an ABV of 88%.

Spirits alone contain very little sugar (almost 0g), but when combined with other drinks, the sugar content increases dramatically.

For example, vodka mixed with about 250ml of cranberry juice contains about 30g or 7.5 teaspoons of sugar and rum mixed with 250ml of cola increases the sugar content to about 27.5g or 7 teaspoons.


If you think spirits are bad, then cocktails are the mother of calorie drinks. Most cocktails consist of one or more spirits, along with juice, sugar syrups, and flavorings, some totaling more than a pint of stout.

A simple martini, made with gin or vodka, vermouth and ice, contains up to 120 calories. But a pornstar martini, a popular cocktail made with vodka, passion fruit liqueur, sugar syrup, and sparkling wine, has about 225 calories per drink. Even higher is Long Island iced tea, a concoction of vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin and a touch of cola, which can contain up to 280 calories, or the rough equivalent of a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

To cut calories, keep your cocktail simple. The fewer alcoholic ingredients, the less calories and sugar (and the less severe your hangover).


A favorite among young drinkers sipping neon-colored drinks on a night out, alcopops are high in both sugar and alcohol, making them a particularly high-calorie option. A 275 ml bottle can contain between 170 and 230 calories; one 330 ml bottle of Smirnoff ice cream contains about 228 calories, or two slices of buttered toast.

Does alcohol make you fat?

Alcohol can cause you to gain weight – not only because of its calorie content, but also because after drinking your body focuses on breaking down alcohol units rather than burning fat.

Consuming too much alcohol can also cause serious damage to your liver, which can then affect its ability to metabolize and store carbohydrates and fats.

Additionally, alcohol can make you hungry and lead you to make poor food choices.

What is the recommended alcohol consumption in the UK?

Current guidelines state that men and women should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis – that’s the equivalent of six pints of medium-strength beer or 10 small glasses of wine. low grade.

The NHS also advises spreading your alcohol intake over three or more days if you regularly exceed 14 units per week.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-25 14:30:16

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