Alcohol calories and units

Although most people can enjoy moderate consumption of alcohol safely, it is important to monitor your intake. Exceeding the recommended limit of 14 units per week and/or binge drinking can contribute to a number of health problems, such as liver disease, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity.

People often forget to take into account the calories in alcohol, leading to unintended weight gain. In addition, drinking alcohol can make you feel hungry and lead to a higher calorie intake than you had planned!

Calories in Mojito, single shot of spirit, 2 large glasses of red wine and a large doner kebab:

Mojito - 230 cals; single shot - 55 cals; 2 large glasses red wine - 280cals; larger doner kebab - 1040 cals TOTAL= 1705 cals

Does alcohol provide any nutritional benefit?

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and these are usually ‘empty calories’, meaning they are of no nutritional value – an important consideration for weight management. To keep on top of your calorie intake, choose sugar free mixers instead of sugary ones or fruit juice.

Calories in soda water, diet cola, orange juice, cola and cranberry juice:

soda water - 0 cals; diet cola - 2 cals; orange juice - 50 cals; cola - 60 cals; cranberry juice - 85 cals

Do you know the weekly limit?

The following drinks have 14 units of alcohol:

  • 6 pints of lager (4% ABV)

6 pints  of lager

  • 6 medium glasses of red wine (13% ABV)

6 medium glasses red wine

  • 14 single shots of spirits (40% ABV), such as rum, vodka or whisky

14 single shots of spirits

Over the years, the alcohol content of most drinks has risen and a drink may therefore contain more units of alcohol than you think. Below are the units of alcohol for some common drinks, with the calories also shown.

Pint of lager, pint of stout, large glass of red wine, small glass of Irish cream and single shot of spirit:

Pint of lager - 2 units 210 cals; pint of stout - 2 units 210 cals; large glass of red wine - 3 units 190 cals; small glass of Irish cream - 1 unit 153 cals; and single shot of spirit - 1 unit 55 cals