Does Low Alcohol Mean Low Calories Too?

Drinking low or no alcohol drinks can be a great way to cut down on calories. There’s a large selection of virtually zero calorie spirits and botanicals which can be drunk with, say, a sugar-free tonic to give you a lovely long, very low calorie drink. You can see our full selection of over 60 drinks here, where you’ll find such 5-star wonders as Seedlip Garden – described by our reviewer as being like “eating raw peas by a hedgerow” and it has zero calories! What is not to like. Or for something more classical you could try a Tanqueray 0.0% spirit for which a whopping 250ml double with slimline tonic will set you back just 10 calories.

Then there are the Kombuchas – distilled tea-based drinks which are steeped in dry, exotic flavour, usually sparkling and come in at around 15 calories per 100ml. We especially recommend the 5-star REAL Kombuchas (Royal Flush and Dry Dragon).

Zero alcohol beers and ciders tend to carry higher calories – they contain higher levels of carbohydrates and sugars, which is what gives them their body. But if this is what you want, then try to stick to lager. For example, the 5-star Infinite Helles Lager has just 50 calories in a 500ml bottle, which is much better than, say, a 500ml bottle of Adams Ghost Ship 0.5%, which contains 115 calories, although this too is well short of the full- strength Adams Ghost Ship 4.5% which comes in at 195 calories.

But what if you actually do want an alcoholic drink? The cruel truth is that drinking alcohol is a high calorific activity. Alcohol is converted into sugar in the body which means calories. Every unit of alcohol you drink will contain a minimum of 56 calories.

But of course, some drinks are worse than others. What are your least worst options, purely in terms of calories?

If you are drinking a full strength alcohol then to trim the calories you should keep it strong and clear and avoid mixers unless they are sugar-free. A straight double whisky will set you back the minimum 112 calories, a gin or vodka with a slim-line tonic will only marginally increase this to 116 calories (but a full-fat tonic would take you to 154 calories). Similarly a 250ml glass of 13% ABV Sauvignon Blanc or Malbec would carry about 190 calories.

But better still, drink a 9% ABV Sauvignon Blanc such as the Brancott Estate Flight.  That will reduce your calories by about 20% to around 150 calories for a very large 250ml glass.  Or go even lower: try a 250ml 1:4 Aperol and diet tonic which has a 2.2% ABV and it will contain just 35 calories or even better drink a double Smidgen and diet tonic, which has an ABV of 1.0% and contains only 20 calories.

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