I recently had a bet with some friends as to whether beer or wine would have the most calories by volume. So I did some research.
It turns out that pure alcohol is surprisingly high in calories on it’s own.
So there are 3 ways we can break this down.
- Calories per 100ml (per volume of liquid!)
- Calories per serving (how many drinks you have?)
- Calories per unit of alcohol (how drunk you get for each kcal?)
Some terminology first:
- 1 Unit = 10ml of pure alcohol
- ABV = Alcohol By Volume
- 100% proof = 50% ABV
Calories by Volume
Put simply, volume for volume, wine has approximately double the calories of beer. What is surprising is that pure alcohol has huge calories and volume for volume is over 10 times more calorific than beer. Just 1 shot (35ml) of pure alcohol has the same calories as a 330ml can of Coke!
Calories per serving
However, when you look at the calories per serving the picture changes.
When matching rounds at the pub/bar then we can see that the beer drinkers will be consuming nearly 60% more calories than wine drinkers.
The lowest calorie rounds are the straight up spirits or spirits with diet mixers. The highest are strong beers and alcopops!
If we then look at how drunk (alcohol units) you get for your calories thing change again.
Calories per alcohol unit
To get the biggest bang for your buck, or most alcohol per calorie, it’s clear that pure alcohol and plain spirits are the most efficient. If you are having mixers, then using diet options keeps the calories very low.
|Product||Alcohol by volume (ABV)||UK Serving Size, pint/single shot/regular (ml)||Calories per serving (kcal)||calories kcal per 100ml||Alcohol Units per serving||calories kcal per unit|
|Beer (4% strength)||4%||568||182||32||2.3||80|
|Beer (5% strength)||5%||568||215||38||2.8||76|
|Gin and Diet Tonic||6%||250||72||29||1.5||48|
|Gin and Tonic||6%||250||160||64||1.5||107|
|Pure Alcolohol (100% ABV)||100%||35||133||380||3.5||38|
|Vodka and cola||6%||250||165||66||1.5||110|
|Wine – Dry White||13%||175||115.5||66||2.3||51|
|Wine – Red||13%||175||119||68||2.3||52|