Drinkaware is an independent charity working to reduce alcohol misuse and harm in the UK. We're here to help people make better choices about drinking.

Unit guidance: What are the low risk drinking guidelines?

The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines advise that both men and women are safest when not regularly exceeding more than 14 units a week, and should spread their drinking out over three or more days.

Five pints of 4.5% cider would equal 13 units. Three pints of strong 7.5% cider would equal 12.9 units.
If you regularly drink over the guidelines, you could be increasing your chances of developing long-term health conditions. Find out more about the effects of alcohol.

How many calories are there in cider?

One pint of cider with 4.5% ABV can contain 210 calories with some leading brands containing more – you could be consuming the same amount of calories as a sugar doughnut. 

It’s easy to forget that sweet drinks like cider can contain a high volume of alcohol and calories. 

Find out exactly how many calories you’re drinking with our unit and calorie calculator

Learn more about the ingredients in cider and get the truth about how alcohol can contribute to a ‘beer belly’.

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 low alcohol drinks, you can reduce your calorie intake.

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 in your drink. 

How 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 means you don't have to pour as much into it to fill your glass 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 tell you whether you're keeping within the unit guidelines.
  5. Our free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app is perfect for tracking your drinks when you’re out and about.
  6. 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 without using alcohol.

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