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Calories in alcohol

Did you know a standard glass of wine can contain up to 158 calories, and some pints of stronger lager can contain up to 222 calories? So, if you're trying to lose weight you need to think about what you are drinking as well as what you are eating.

Drinking 4 bottles of 12% strength wine a month add up to a yearly consumption of up to 32,400kcal. Drinking 5 pints of 5.2% strength lager each week add up to 57,720kcal in a year.

Liquid calories

calories in common drinks
Drink Calories (kcal)
Standard 175ml glass of 12% wine up to 158kcal
Pint of 5% strength beer up to 222kcal
50ml glass of 17% cream liqueur 153kcal
Standard 275ml bottle of 4.5% alcopop 154kcal
Large measure (75ml) of 17.5% fortified wine 102kcal
Double measure (50ml) of 40% spirits 100kcal

You can find out the calorie content of other drinks using unit and calorie calculator on the Drinkaware Alcohol Change UK website.

Weight gain

Wine, beer, cider, spirits and many more of our favourite drinks are made from natural starch and sugar. Fermentation (and distillation for certain drinks) is used to produce the alcohol content.

This is why alcohol contains lots of calories – 7 calories per gram, which is almost as many as a gram of fat. Plus, additional calories can be in added mixer drinks, such as cola or tonic water.

Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your waistline and cause less obvious, but more serious, health problems.

Find out more about alcohol units.

Tips to avoid weight gain:

  • Have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. If you do reach for snacks while drinking, choose a healthier option.
  • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Instead, drink at your own pace.
  • Try cutting down with a friend, as you'll be more likely to stick to it with moral support.
  • Try drinking with a meal or eating a healthy dinner before you have drinks. This may help you eat less healthy options later in the evening.
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips.
  • Avoid "binge drinking" as this can lead to weight gain
  • If you're drinking white wine, why not add a splash of soda water to help the same number of units last longer?


To keep the health risk from alcohol low, men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more.

Get more tips on cutting down how much you drink.

Page last reviewed: 12 June 2023
Next review due: 12 June 2026