Alcohol & Your Weight

Alcohol & Your Weight

on Monday, 12 February 2018. posted in lifestyle, nutrition

Alcohol ... the elephant in the room when it comes to managing your weight?

I get asked all the time when talking about weight loss  ‘So... will a few drinks on the weekend be okay?’

Let’s go straight to some basic information. A 150ml glass of wine (what would get poured at a restaurant) contains around 520kj (kilojoules). A 375ml can or bottle of beer contains around 580kj. To put this into perspective, each drink is like eating around a slice and a half of bread. 2 drinks with dinner? That’s 3 slices of bread on top of your meal. I think you get the idea!

The problem is, for people who enjoy a drink, telling them to simply cut it out just isn’t realistic for long term weight loss/management. So I don’t like to ban it, instead try to manage it. Balance... Control... It is easy not to drink for a month to ‘detox’ but this will result in heavier drinking the next month. The key is to be knowledgeable about what you are drinking, and to manage how often and how much you drink.

Here is some knowledge of the energy in your favorite alcohol drinks:

Red wine

150ml (one glass)

500-520kj  - 120 calories

White wine

150ml (one glass)

504 kj    - 120 calories


120ml (one glass)

420 kj    - 100 calories

Gin tonic

1 Shot sprit 30 mL, 250ml tonic

840 kj    - 200 calories

Vodka soda

1 Shot of sprit 30 mL, soda

300 kj     - 70 calories

Bourbon/rum & coke

1 can

1050 kj  - 250 calories

Bourbon/rum & diet coke

1 30 mL shot sprit , diet coke

300 kj    - 70 calories

Beer, VB Carlton etc

1 Can/bottle

580 kj    - 138 calories

Beer, VB Carlton etc

1 pot glass

525 kj    - 125 calories

Beer, low carb(pure blonde)

1 Can/bottle

470 kj    - 115 calories


1 can

940 kj   - 225 calories


1 bottle

730 kj   - 175 calories

Smirnoff Double black

1 bottle

950 kj   - 230 calories


1 Bottle

710 kj   - 170 calories

Rekorderlig cider


1045 kj - 250 calories

Cocktail, avg

1 cocktail

900kj    - 215 calories

So you can see how a few drinks on top of what you eat over the day and night can really add up and add to your waist line.

FYI: **Rough estimates

Average energy intake needed for guys is 9500kj-13000kj a day

Average energy intake needed for girls is 7000-10000kj a day

Check your own needs here -> Individual kilojoule/calorie needs

Weight loss and alcohol…

I’m going to tell you what you already know about alcohol here. It is high in kilojoules, which provide no nutrients - the same as sugar, this is why they are both called ‘empty calories’. But alcohol is much higher in calories than sugar, almost double per gram!

Energy source

Calories per gram

Carbs, sugar








Recent research shows even red wine (which we tell ourselves is antioxidant rich!) really isn’t much of a benefit. A few drinks usually results in poor food choices and overeating while you are drinking and the next day. But in saying all this don’t worry, I’m with you! I love a wine or two on the weekends. When having a celebration or drinks with friends, I try to stick to vodka lime and soda or vodka and a little bit of coconut water. Yep, real boring but I wake up feeling SO much better the next day. If I am out for dinner on a weekend and feel like alcohol, I won’t have an entrée or desert and then will enjoy a glass or 2 of wine.  If you want to enjoy a cocktail, you’re looking at 1000-2000 Kjs, so you will have to eat pretty lightly to compensate. A glass of wine or beer has around 500kj in it, so a couple of wines/beers on the weekend is fine but you have to make sure your eating is under control, skip the nibbles/entrée/bread basket/desert to compensate and try to continue making healthy choices.

If you do have a big day out socialising and ate/drank too much - hey it happens.  I’m sure you really enjoyed yourself, so just be happy and in the next day or two try to eat a little bit lighter and make good choices instead of having the mentality of ‘oh stuff it, I’ll start again on Monday’. ALWAYS get straight back up when you fall off your healthy, balanced eating. The sooner you get back onto it the better.

If you have made the decision you want to lose weight, you do need to watch what you drink. Make a habit of not drinking alcohol at least 5-7 days a week, and if you do have a couple on the weekend, always ask yourself, “do I really need that next drink?” Every drink is like having 1-2 slices of bread!

This is a neat website to calculate all the calories from alcohol you would have in a week -> Alcohol Calculator

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