How many kilojoules in alcoholic drinks?

people toasting around a table on a porch

Many of us enjoy a social drink this time of year but alcohol can be high in empty energy.  HFG dietitian Melissa Meier takes a look at how many kilojoules are in popular tipples.

A glass of wine or beer on a Friday night, or a cocktail with friends over the weekend, is a pleasant way to unwind.

With the silly season fast approaching, here’s how to sip a little smarter.

The kilojoules/calories in alcohol
Alcohol is high in kilojoules that, when consumed in excess, can contribute to unwanted weight gain. There’s also no nutritional benefit from drinking alcohol, which is why it’s often referred to as ‘empty calories’.

One standard drink contains 10g of alcohol, which equates to 290kJ (69cal). Given that the average restaurant serve of wine contains 1.4 standard drinks, or a 25ml schooner of full-strength beer contains 1.6 standard drinks, it’s easy to see how the kilojoules can quickly add up.

Eat, drink & be merry!
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach means you’ll feel the effects very quickly — then hello hangover! So, before you start drinking, eat a nutritious meal or snack. By eating beforehand, you’ll also be less likely to overdo into salty party foods that make you thirsty and, in turn, drink more.

Lighter fare
Luckily, it’s easy to rein things in. If your go-to quencher is beer, a low-alcohol variety can save kilojoules. If wine is more your thing, you could try a spritzer made up of 50 per cent wine and 50 per cent soda water, to lighten things up.

Alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks is another wise way to cut down total alcohol intake. Kombucha, mineral water with a squeeze of lime juice, or even a sugar-free soft drink every now and then, can provide a refreshing flavour hit, so that you don’t end up feeling like you’re missing out.

Last but not least, opt out of ‘rounds’ by saying no to refills until your glass is empty. It will help you stay on track and in control. Cheers to that!

Full-strength beer
615kJ (147cal) per 425ml schooner
Same as 1¾ cans of Coke
604kJ (144cal) per standard cocktail
Same as 1¾ cans of Coke
White wine
White wine
426kJ (102cal) per 150ml glass
Same as 1¼ cans of Coke
465kJ (111cal) per 150ml glass
Same as 1¼ cans of Coke
Canadian Club & Dry
790kJ (189cal) per 330ml bottle
Same as 2¼ cans of Coke
Gordon’s Gin & Tonic
1354kJ (324cal) per 375ml can
Same as 2¾ cans of Coke
Vodka Cruiser Chocolate Mudshake
1195kJ (286cal) per 270ml bottle
Same as 3¼ cans of Coke
Pure Blonde UltraLow Carb Lager
364kJ (87cal) per 355ml bottle
Same as 1 can of Coke
Vodka & lemonade
604kJ (145cal) per 30ml spirit + 250ml lemonade
Same as 1¾ can of Coke
Pina colada
1234kJ (295cal) per standard cocktail
Same as 1½ can of Coke
Red wine
428kJ (102cal) per 150ml glass
Same as 11/4 can of Coke

Can of cokeWe compared the kilojoules in popular alcoholic drinks with those in a 200ml can of Coca-Cola — which has 360kJ (86cal)

First published: Dec 2019
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