Units and calories in cider

Get the facts about cider and what you can do to cut back on the amount you drink.

What are the daily unit guidelines for cider?

Drinking one 500ml can of strong (7.5%) cider nearly takes a man to the upper threshold of the lower risk guidelines. Just one can of strong cider puts a woman well over the guidelines.


If you regularly drink over these guidelines, you could be increasing your chances of developing long-term health conditions. Find out more about the effects of alcohol.

One pint of cider contains as many calories as a sugar doughnut

One pint of cider with 4.5% ABV can contain 210 calories with some leading brands containing more – drink two pints and you’ve consumed the same amount of calories as a medium beef and onion pie.

Find out more about the ingredients in cider get the truth about alcohol's impact on keeping in shape.

Low calorie cider

Alcohol is high in sugar which means it contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat! By cutting back on the amount you drink and opting for a low alcohol cider, you can reduce your calorie intake. Find out how many calories are in your drink with our calorie calculator.

Check the strength of your cider

Checking a cider's ABV (alcohol by volume) will give you a guide to how strong it us. The ABV tells you what percentage of the drink is made up of alcohol. For example, a cider with 7.5% ABV is 7.5% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol is present.

Things you can do right now to reduce the amount of cider you are drinking

To stay on track, try these top tips:

1. Opt out of rounds Drinking in rounds means that you’re keeping up with the fastest drinker, so you could be consuming your units faster than you’d like. Regain control, and maybe even save some cash, by buying your own drinks instead.

2. Look at the ABV The ABV, which you'll usually find on the pump at the pub or on the side of the can or bottle, is your at-a-glance guide to a cider's strength. Brands with higher ABVs have more alcohol, and more units.

3. Ask for ice The faster you drink, the quicker you reach your limits. Ordering ice with your bottled cider fills the glass so you don't have to pour as much into it to fill it to the top. This will encourage you to space out your drinks a bit more.

4. Keep a drink diary If you choose to drink, recording exactly what you've drunk during the week will give you a great idea of whether you're within the guidelines. MyDrinkaware, our web-based drink tracking tool, is perfect for this.

5. Tackle your triggers If you always have a drink to celebrate a good day at work, or commiserate a bad result at the football, try doing something else instead. An alcohol-free dinner out is a feel-good treat, while a gym session or five-a-side match is a great way to relieve stress.

Discover some more practical ways to cut back on cider with our tips on cutting down

Are you drinking too much?

Find out how many units you are drinking

Compare your drinking to the government's lower risk 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

How to cut down

We have many tips and strategies for cutting down at home or when out and about.

Tips on how to cut down

Page updated: August 2014