Coronavirus: stay safe with our facts, information and practical advice about alcohol and your health


Did you know that a glass of wine can have the same calories as four cookies? How about a pint of lager – surprised to hear it’s often the calorific equivalent of a slice of pizza? 

Why calories in alcohol are extra-fattening 

Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar.
Our free Drinakware app is an easy way to track the units and calories in your drinks so you can cut back.
What is a unit of alcohol? Find out here...

Did you know?

Because alcohol is made from sugar or starch, it contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat!

Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', 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. 

Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy2. While we can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can't store alcohol. So our systems want to get rid of it, and doing so takes priority. All of the other processes that should be taking place (including absorbing nutrients and burning fat) are interrupted.

Check the calories in your drinks with our Unit and Calorie Calculator

How many calories are in an alcoholic drink? 

With a pint of lager containing the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, the calories in alcohol soon add up. You might be surprised to find out how many calories there are in wine and how spirits like gin could be contributing to weight gain.


Cutting back on alcohol can help you maintain a healthy weight

Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, particularly common beverages such as beer and cocktails. However, by cutting back on the amount you drink, it can significantly help to reduce your calorie intake.
To control your calorie intake as part of a healthy lifestyle it’s important not to regularly exceed the recommended UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units a week.



(1) NHS Choices website. Calories in alcohol. The Information Standard member organisation. Last reviewed: 16/12/2014. Available at:
(2)Charles S. Lieber, 2000, ‘Alcohol: Its Metabolism and Interaction With Nutrients’, Annual Review of Nutrition, vol. 2, pp. 395-430. Available at:

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