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Calories in alcohol

All alcohol drinks contain calories. There are about 7 calories per gram of pure ethanol, compared with 9 calories in a gram of fat, and 4 calories in a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Some drinks also have carbohydrates or other nutrients that naturally have calories. Also, there’ll be extra calories from the additional nutrients in some types of alcohol -- from flavorings and other ingredients that are added to make the finished product, for example. Beer and wine contain carbohydrates that are not added, but have not been distilled out so remain in the drink.  Discover the number of calories and the nutrients in your favorite drink here and check out our page on the effects of alcohol on weight gain

Did you know?

Kcals (kilocalories, often called Calories or Cal) measure the amount of energy in the things we eat or drink.  Each kcal is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a litre of water by 1°C.

Nutritional values of alcohol


The four primary ingredients in beer are water, barley, hops and yeast. The Alcohol by Volume (ABV), and calories vary according to the type of beer.  A typical beer in the US is  5% ABV while craft beers can be over 10% ABV. Calories vary from 103 calories to over 200 calories for a 12 ounce beer..  Beer also includes small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus and niacin.


Spirits are made with the widest variety of natural ingredients and are often aged in different types of wood barrels.  This is why there is a great variety in flavor and color. A typical distilled spirit (like gin, whiskey or vodka) is 40% ABV  and a serving of 1.5 ounces  contains 98 calories. As spirits are often served with mixers or in cocktails, it’s worth bearing in mind that these add additional calories and that there are lower calorie options such as herb and fruit infusions or soda water.  Also, cordials and liqueurs contain more calories than a neat spirit.


Wines are made by fermenting the juice from grapes or other fruits or grains.  A glass of wine (5 ounces) contains approximately 100 calories.  Due to their natural chemical balance, grapes ferment without the addition of sugar.  Most wines have an ABV of around 13%.


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Alcohol and weight
Alcohol and weight

Knowing the calorie count and nutritional value of your drink is one thing, but it’s also worth knowing how those calories can lead to weight gain. Discover how you can watch your weight, whilst watching what you drink.

Does drinking cause weight gain?