Calories in alcohol
Did you know that a glass of wine can have the same calories as four cookies? How about a pint of lager – surprised to hear it’s often the calorific equivalent of a slice of pizza?
Why calories in alcohol are extra-fattening
Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar.
Did you know?
Being high in sugar means alcohol contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat!
Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of vitamins and minerals, but not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to our diet.
Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy (1). While we can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can't store alcohol. So our systems want to get rid of it, and doing so takes priority. All of the other processes that should be taking place (including absorbing nutrients and burning fat) are interrupted.
How many calories are in an alcoholic drink?
With a pint of lager containing the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, the calories in alcohol soon add up…
- 35ml gin and tonic =128
- 35ml dark rum and coke =141
- Medium glass of 12% white wine (175ml) =130
- Medium glass of 12% red wine (175ml) =119
- Bottle of 13.5% wine (white) =555
- Bottle of wine 11% (red) = 510
- Pint of 5% Lager = 244
- Pint of 4.5% Cider = 233
- Pint of 4.1% Stout = 210
- Pint of 4.5% Bitter/Ale =222
- 50ml of 40% Liqueur =170
- 50ml of 40% Brandy =110
- 25ml of 40% Whiskey =56
- Bottle (275ml) of 5.5% alcopop =171
You can keep an eye on how much you're drinking - and the calories you're taking in - with our unit calculator and the MyDrinkaware tool. Drinking within the government's daily unit guidelines and trying to give yourself a couple of days off alcohol every week, will help you avoid piling on the pounds.
Are you drinking too much?
Find out how many units you are drinking
Compare your drinking to the government's daily unit guidelines.Try our Unit Calculator
Take a drinking self assessment
Answer these simple questions and find out what kind of a relationship you have with alcohol.Assess your drinking
Annual Reviews website, Alcohol: Its Metabolism and Interaction With Nutrients. Available at:http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.nutr.20.1.395
Page updated: May 2013
Did you know?
More than 1 in 10 deaths of people in their 40s are from liver disease, most are from alcoholic liver diseaseAlcohol and the liver
Calculate your calories
Find out how many calories are in your drinksTry our unit calculator
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Daily unit guidelines
You should not regularly exceed:Find out how many units are in your favourite drink