Calories in alcohol

3:00:00 PM

Did you know a standard glass of wine contains as many calories as a small chocolate and a pint of lager has as many calories as a packet of crisps? 

The problem is, most of us just don’t think of alcohol as being calorific. So, while we might go easy on the single cream when eating desserts, we wouldn’t think twice about knocking back a couple of pints. In fact, the calorie content of two pints is similar to that of a full glass of single cream. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand how excess alcohol intake can easily contribute to gaining weight. Two large glasses of white wine, totalling 360kcal, will provide a woman with nearly a fifth of her daily calorie allowance. A beer-drinker knocking back just five pints a week would add a whopping 44,200kcal over a year, equivalent to 221 doughnuts. Alcohol contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as a gram of fat. And, of course, additional calories can be present in added mixer drinks. Many drinkers add to their liquid calorie count by having snacks, such as crisps, nuts or pork scratchings, with their tipple, not to mention a hangoverinduced fry-up the morning after, which can add an extra 450kcal. Tips to avoid weight gain

 • Stick to your daily recommended units. Men shouldn’t regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day. Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. As a 
guide, a pint of lager and a 250ml glass of wine both contain 3 units of alcohol.

• Alternate an alcoholic drink with a diet soft drink or water – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.

• Choose drinks with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) instead of your usual tipple. There’s an increasing range of lower alcohol choices available and most also have fewer calories.

 • Don’t drink on an empty stomach, as this can lead to snacking. If you do snack while drinking, avoid high-calorie snacks such as crisps, pork scratchings chips. Try lighter options such as pretzels, plain popcorn or oven-baked crisps.

 • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Opt out and drink at your own pace.

 • Try cutting down with a friend, as you’ll be more likely to stick to it with moral support.

 • Eat a healthier dinner before you start drinking. Order or cook before you start drinking so you’re not tempted to go for the less healthy options.

 • Avoid ‘binge drinking’. Drinking a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time 
may be significantly worse for your health than frequently drinking small quantities.

How many calories are in your drink?

With a pint of beer the same as a packet of crisps, and a standard bottle of alcopop 
the same as three teacakes, the calories from alcohol soon add up.

Calories in alcohol*
DrinkCalories (kcal) Food equivalent
A standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine126kcal1 Cadbury Heroes miniature bar
A pint of 5% strength beer215kcal1 packet of McCoy's salted crisps
A glass (50ml) of (17%) cream liqueur118kcal1 Milky Way bar
A standard bottle (330ml) of 5% alcopop237kcal3 Lees teacakes
A double measure (50ml) of 17.5% fortified wine65kcal1 Asda bourbon biscuit

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