Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, particularly common types of drinks such as beer and cocktails. Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', meaning 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.
If you ever want to know the exact calorie content of a specific drink, be sure to check out our Unit and Calorie Calculator.


Calories in wine

Just one large glass of wine has the same calorie content as many indulgent foods. If you choose to drink alcohol, why not try switching to a smaller glass – a 125ml glass of wine contains 114 calories, half the calories of a large glass.A large 250ml glass of wine as the same calories as an ice cream

 

Calories in Pimm's

Two glasses of Pimm’s has as many calories as a bagel, and will provide none of the energy your body needs. An alternative, and equally refreshing option could be a mocktail – click here for our mocktail recipes.

2 glasses of Pimms has the same calories as a bagel

Calories in gin

Although a gin & tonic is commonly portrayed as a diet friendly drink, the amount of calories in gin means that this is really not the case. Just two glasses are the calorie equivalent of a chocolate pancake. Why not avoid all those calories by livening up a plain tonic with some lemon and lime slices and some fresh mint?

2 gin and tonics has the same calories as a chocolate filled pancake

Calories in alcopops

Alcopops may be relatively small in volume, but you only have to drink one to consume the same amount of calories as in a slice of ham and pineapple pizza. This is due to the high sugar content, making the drink bad news for your waistline if you drink a lot of them.

a bottle of alcopop has the same calories as a slice of pizza

Calories in rum

Another common spirit and mixer option, rum and coke, is also more fattening than you might expect. Two singles have the same number of calories as a whole bag of chocolate buttons!

2 rum and cokes has the same calories as a bag of chocolate buttons

Calories in beer

A sirloin steak may be high in calories, but is also full of protein, which helps your body to grow and repair itself. Beer on the other hand, is full of empty calories which provide your body with no nutritional value. What’s more, drinking alcohol actually slows down your body’s fat burning processes, as after you drink alcohol the body prioritises getting rid of it. Read more on our calories in alcohol page.

2 bottles of beer has the same calories as a sirloin steak

Calories in champagne

Knowing that a glass of champagne has the same number of calories as a chocolate digestive might make you think twice about getting your glass topped up after a celebratory toast.

A glass of champagne has the same calories as a chocolate digestive biscuit

Calories in cider

Last but not least, you might be surprised that a pint of cider can contain as many calories as a sugar doughnut! So instead of ordering a pint, opt for a half pint or space out a bottle of cider by filling your glass with some ice first.

A pint of cider has the same calories as a sugar doughnut

 

So, what can you do?

Now that you’re familiar with the number of calories in gin, cider and other alcoholic drinks, our calorie calculator is a great place to find out how many extra calories you’re consuming through any alcohol you drink. We’ve got lots of great advice on how to cut down if you are keen to start drinking less or stop drinking all together.
Our MyDrinkaware tool will help you to track drinks over time, and makes it easy to see your calorie consumption at the end of the week. If you want to track drinks wherever you are, consider downloading our alcohol tracking app, which will record what you drink and give you personalised tips.

 

References: 

  1. Ice cream (Cornetto) Wall’s website. Accessed September 2014. http://www.icecreammakesuhappy.co.uk/Products/ProductDetail.aspx?bid=175380&sid=175375&pid=175374
  2. Plain white bagel (New York Bakery Co.) Tesco website. Accessed December 2015. http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=250774576
  3. Chocolate-filled pancake. Tesco website. Accessed December 2015 http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=262550961
  4. Hawaiian pizza slice (classic crust large). Dominos website. Accessed December 2015. http://corporate.dominos.co.uk/Media/Default/CSR/Nutritional%20info%20-TAFL/Nutritional%20Info%20-%20May%202014-1.pdf
  5. Bag of chocolate buttons. Cadburys website. Accessed December 2015. https://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/Buttons?c2=1460&p=2377
  6. Sirloin steak (195 grams). Tesco website. Accessed September 2014. http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=254286335
  7. Chocolate digestive biscuits. Tesco website. Accessed December 2015. http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=254924595
  8. Sugar doughnut. McDonalds website. Accessed December 2015. http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/product_nutrition.dessertstreats.118.sugar-donut.html