Calories in alcohol - the secret diet saboteur!

calories in alcohol

Ever thought about the calories in alcohol? When you are following a calorie controlled weight loss diet, you really have to watch what you're drinking! It's a minefield in so many ways.

Firstly, the calories in alcohol are carbohydrates - so they are metabolised first as a priority over fat burning, really the last thing you want when you are trying to lose weight. Also those particular calories contribute very little of nutritional value in any other sense... sure, we all get excited about the latest findings showing that small doses of red wine are good for your heart etc, but deep down we all know that it's easy for booze to do more harm than good.

Another thing to watch is the quantities. The chart below gives the calories for specific measures of alcoholic drinks, but how big are your wine glasses, or the measures poured in your favourite restaurant..? It's all very well asking them to hold the dressing on your salad but if you wash it down with half a bottle of a wine you will be adding 250+kcal straight back again!

The final warning - and this isn't an anti-alcohol website, it's just that Daisy and the girls here really know about this from experience - it's not just the calories in alcohol you should be concerned about, it's the impact it has on your willpower! After a couple of glasses, it's all to easy to have a couple more, or say yes to second helpings or to pudding or to whatever else is going!

OK, with the dire warnings out of the way, just how many calories do alcoholic drinks contain? The following table will give you some idea - just look carefully at the quantities given in the chart!

Serving size Calories (kcal)
Best/premium beer pint 187
Regular bitter beer pint 170
Draft mild / lager pint 136
Red wine 175ml glass 119
White wine (dry) 175ml glass 116
White wine spritzer (with lemonade) made with 175ml wine 138
White wine spritzer (with soda) made with 175ml wine 130
Regular dry cider pint 204
Gin and tonic single 120
Gin and slimline tonic single 56
Vodka and coke single 120
Vodka and diet coke single 56
Vodka lime and soda single 76
Whisky and lemonade single 82

You can see from the above that it's not just the specific calories in alcohol you need to watch, but also what you mix it with. And don't even get started on the bar snacks!

That doesnt mean alcohol has no place in a calorie-controlled diet - like all things, use moderation and it'll be fine.

Also, don't forget that a lot of wine is not vegetarian at all. Isinglass and gelatine are used in 'fining' (filtering) wine very frequently, and other alcoholic drinks contain surprises too. We don't just mean the worm swimming in the mezcal! But Campari for example is coloured with cochineal (dead beetle cocktail anyone?) Don't forget to check the labels and ask the right questions, if you want your drink to be vegetarian as well as low calorie

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