Key calorie counting facts
Facts to help you with counting alcohol calories and ensure you make the right choices
The fact that there is a significant number of calories in alcohol can be an uncomfortable realisation for those trying to lose weight. Knowing the facts can help you with calorie counting and ensure you make the right choices, both for your waistline and your long-term health.
While food fills you up and provides the essential nutrients your body needs to function, alcohol has no such positive effects, as it’s made up of empty calories. Check out our calories in alcohol page for more detailed information.
If you regularly drink alcohol, it can form a significant part of your daily calorie consumption. So reducing the amount you drink can make a real difference to your long-term health and appearance, and you’ll probably feel a lot better too. Our section how to cut down has lots of practical tips.
The combination of binge drinking and obesity can be very damaging to your long-term health. Data from the Million Women Study, a national research study of women’s health, found that women who were overweight had a greater risk of liver cirrhosis. This risk increased more for women who drank 150g or more of alcohol per week than for those who drank less than 70g3. Visit our page on alcohol and liver disease to find out more.
As this survey found, there is a lot of confusion about just how calorific alcoholic drinks can be. It’s often not clear from the packaging, meaning counting calories in alcohol can be difficult. If you are trying to watch your calorie count, you might find our Unit and Calorie Calculator useful. The calculator gives the calorie content of hundreds of drinks, making it easy to get a clear idea.
Regularly drinking adds a lot to your calorie intake, whether it's small amounts every day of the week or a lot on a couple of days of the week, and that makes it difficult to lose weight. If you do choose to drink alcohol, the best approach is to drink within the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) Low Risk Drinking Guidelines if you do drink to spread it evenly over the week.
To keep track of how many calories you’re consuming through alcohol, consider trying our free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units mobile app. You can record what you drink, meaning you can count the calories and avoid them adding up.
If losing weight is a goal for you, it could be hugely beneficial to consume less alcohol. It doesn’t need to mean sacrificing your social life. Read our advice on how to have an alcohol-free night out, or throw a reduced-alcohol dinner party.