Find out how many calories and units are in vodka, and how this relates to the low risk guidelines.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) low risk alcohol guidelines recommend that both men and women are safest not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. If you do choose to drink this amount it’s best to spread your units over the week.
If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days a week.
A vodka and cola made with a single 25ml measure of 40% Alcohol by Volume (ABV) vodka contains one unit. So drinking 15 vodka and cokes with this same amount of alcohol means you will exceed the guidelines; if you’re drinking doubles eight in a week would put you over the low risk guidelines.
Regularly drinking above the guidelines could increase your chances of developing a number of long-term health conditions including cancer, liver disease, and lead to alcohol dependence and have implications for your mental health.
It’s a myth that drinks featuring clear spirits are low in calories.
You might be surprised to hear that one vodka and coke made with a 25ml measure of 40% ABV vodka contains 110 calories – similar to a small slice of pizza.
Just like in other alcoholic drinks, these are ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value, so don’t benefit your body in any way. Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of vitamins and minerals, but not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to our diet, so it’s never a good idea to substitute alcohol for food.
See how excessive drinking can lead to weight gain
Checking a vodka’s ABV will tell you how strong it is. Look out for the ABV on the label, which shows what percentage of the drink is alcohol, or ask at the bar.
For example, a vodka and coke made with 40% ABV vodka contains 40% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol is in the drink.
- Watch out for shots Drinking vodka shots, or vodka jellies, can mean you consume more alcohol more quickly than you’d like. Sipping a long soft drink, like a cola with ice, can help you slow the pace.
- Mind your measures: Stick to singles and if you’re ordering a cocktail check how many measures of alcohol it’s made with. Mixers can mask the taste of vodka, so you might not realise how strong a drink is just by tasting it. Consider buying a unit measure cup (provide link to our shop) to use at home so you can be sure exactly how much alcohol you are pouring.
- Stay energy-drink savvy: Mixing energy drinks and vodka means taking on caffeine as well as alcohol. The caffeine makes the brain feel more alert, and keeps you awake for longer, meaning you may drink more alcohol than you’d like. Find out more about the risks of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.
- Slow your speed: Alternating alcoholic drinks with soft choices can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your blood-stream, so you can better pace your evening. Try switching vodka and tonics for high-end tonic water, lemon, and plenty of ice for a simple-to-make ‘mocktail’.
- Take a break: If you want to cut back the amount of vodka you are drinking and drink with the low risk drinking guidelines, a good way is to try several alcohol-free days each week.
- Download our free app: The Drinkaware Track and Calculate Units App will help you keep tabs on how much alcohol you’re drinking alongside practical tips on how to cut down.