Kilojoules in Alcohol

Alcohol and the kilojoule-controlled diet

It’s no secret that the consumption of alcohol can be highly detrimental to a kilojoule-controlled diet, particularly when trying to lose weight. However, with the right information and a dash of willpower, it is possible to incorporate alcohol into your diet, and restrict your kilojoule intake at the same time.

First, the bad news. Frequent consumption of alcohol can lead to an excess in weight due to its high calorie or kilojoule content. Just one gram of alcohol is equal to a whopping 29 kilojoules, filling each sip with the potential to drastically undo the good work of your healthy eating plan. High-calorie mixers such as fruit juice and fizzy drinks can also up the kilojoule content of your post-work drink, while the fatty foods you crave after drinking will add on the kilograms too. The more you drink, the more your metabolism will slow, and the more prone you will be to eating calorie-laden foods that you wouldn’t consider touching when sober.

More alcohol, more kilojoules, more side effects

Even more detrimental to your health are the effects of excessive alcohol intake and binge drinking such as:

  • Cancer
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Neurological damage

In order to keep these health risks at bay, while enjoying a favourite drink in moderation, health experts recommend an allowance of 2 – 3 drinks for women, and 3 – 4 drinks for men in one day, with at least two alcohol-free days a week. With ‘one drink’ defined as 25ml of spirits, 125ml of wine or 340ml of beer, these guidelines will effectively help you limit your alcohol and kilojoule intake, while not feeling too restricted within your eating plan. But pay attention to your portion control however – the number of drinks you consume can soon add up if you’re not paying attention!

How many kilojoules are in my drink?

It’s what everyone wants to know – which alcoholic drinks are the best and worst when following a kilojoule-controlled eating plan? Let’s take a closer look…

The kilojoules in beer

It’s no surprise that beer is full of kilojoules – and carbohydrates as well. While beer can be drunk in moderation on a kilojoule-controlled eating plan, the danger lies in the fact that beer is a very social drink, and can be consumed in larger quantities at one sitting than stronger drinks such as wine and spirits. So drink your beer and enjoy it – but not too much!

Beer (340ml)

  • Alcohol-free – 234kj
  • Average – 584kj
  • Lager – 575kj
  • Pilsner – 483kj
  • Cider – 598kj
  • Shandy (half beer, half lemonade) – 576kj

The kilojoules in spirits

While spirits are higher in kilojoules than wine and beer, the fact that we tend to drink them in smaller amounts (such as a tot of 25ml) make these a good, low-calorie choice for weight-loss plans. However, while you may be consuming less alcohol, and therefore fewer kilojoules, the fizzy drinks and juices used as spirit mixers can easily up the calorie content in just one drink. To avoid filling up on kilojoules, mix your spirits with diet cooldrinks, mineral water or cordial instead, and limit yourself to two drinks in an evening, sipping slowly to make them last longer.

Spirits (25ml)

  • Brandy, cane, gin, vodka, whisky, rum – 261kj
  • 25ml + 200ml spirits and coke – 595kj
  • Tequila – 288kj
  • Jagermeister – 433kj

The kilojoules in wine

It’s the drink of choice for many after a hard day’s work – but the kilojoules in just one small 120ml glass can soon add up the more times your glass is refilled. Instead of having a bartender refill your large glass three times (adding up to almost a full bottle), why not share a bottle with 2 or 3 friends? You’ll keep your kilojoule intake to a minimum, save on money, and share a fun evening with friends at the same time! And if your pocket can stretch to it, you’ll be glad to know that bubbly contains the least amount of kilojoules – so you can indulge in a glass without the guilt.

Wine (120ml)

  • Red, white – 350 – 500kj
  • Semi-sweet, rose – 780kj
  • 100ml sparkling wine – 310kj

Top tip: Dilute white wine with ice or sparkling water – your drink will last longer, making you less prone to reach for that next refill.

The kiloujoules in cocktails and liqueurs

While the sweetness of cocktails and liqueurs is universally appealing, the bad news is that these drinks are laden with sugar and kilojoules, especially those made with cream and coconut milk. In addition, the fruit juices used to make cocktails and breezers are also high in kilojoules and carbohydrates, making them an unwise choice for a night out.

If you like your drinks to have a fruity taste, try a little cordial in a glass of sparkling water or diet lemonade – and add a small splash of spirits if you must. Unfortunately, due to their high sugar and kilojoule content, liqueurs and cocktails should be saved for an occasional treat rather than an everyday tipple.

Cocktails and liqueurs

  • 25ml cream liqueur (Baileys, Cape Velvet, Amarula) – 341kj
  • 50ml Muscadel/Port – 286kj
  • 50ml sherry (dry & medium), vermouth – 223kj
  • 150ml Bloody Mary – 482kj
  • 60ml Daiquiri – 467kj
  • 75ml Martini – 653kj
  • 135ml Pina Colada – 1096kj
  • 210ml Screwdriver – 729kj
  • 165ml Tequila Sunrise – 791kj

Top tips for cutting down on alcohol and kilojoules

If you’re a moderate drinker already, then following the guidelines mentioned won’t seem too much of a hardship. You may even be able to cut out alcohol altogether, and happily stick to low-calorie soft drinks. If, however, you are a heavy drinker, then start small:

  • Exchange calorie-laden fruit juices and mixers for low-calorie options
  • Alternate between one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic drink to counteract the appetite effects of too much alcohol
  • Dilute wine with ice or water to make it last
  • Start your evening with a low-calorie soft drink – never quench your thirst with alcohol
  • And don’t instantly cut out all alcohol once you start a weight-loss plan. Restricting yourself severely may eventually lead to binging, and ultimately destroy your hard work. Rather drink alcohol moderately 2 – 3 nights a week, than go without for a month and drink 10 units in one evening!

Remember that all the information detailed here serves as a guideline for healthy eating and weight loss. Please ensure to always visit a doctor, dietician or other qualified individual before changing your diet and exercise routine. For more information, please refer to our site disclaimer.