Do you think you eat pretty healthily? You've cut down on the sugary snacks and fry-ups? So why aren't you losing weight? The answer could be in that glass in front of you, and the calories in that. It certainly doesn't feel like the equivalent of a doughnut, but as far as your belly's concerned, it is. So, how many calories are in beer?
Booze, unfortunately, is full of calories – only fat has more. It's not for nothing that the roll of lard around your middle is called a beer gut. So, if you seriously want to lose weight, do you have to become a hermit and abstain from the booze? The answer is no – you just need to know your enemy.
Here's the Science
The body gives alcohol special treatment – it's fast-tracked straight from the stomach to the bloodstream, and then to the liver. Half of the alcohol will be absorbed just 10 minutes after having a drink, and all of it within an hour – faster if you drink on an empty stomach.
Why hurry? Alcohol is a toxin, so the body's aim is to get it to the liver – the body's detox plant – as fast as possible.
But the liver can only break down about one unit of alcohol per hour, and any amount above this is turned away as it arrives at the liver and sent back into the bloodstream, to circulate around the body - causing damaging effects to all the cells it comes into contact with – until the liver can process it.
While the liver is dealing with an alcohol onslaught it's distracted from its other important functions. This leads to a build-up of fatty substances in the liver, which prevent it from working properly. 'Fatty liver' is the first stage of liver disease seen in heavy drinkers but it can be reversed if they stop drinking. But if they continue to drink, liver cells die, and there is a progression eventually to irreversible cirrhosis.
How Many Calories Are In Beer?Take a look at the calories in some drinks...
- Bitter - 180 calories
- Mild bitter - 142 calories
- Pale ale - 182 calories
- Brown ale - 160 calories
- Stout - 210 calories
- Lager – ordinary-strength - 170 calories
- Lager – premium - 338 calories
- Dry cider - 190 calories
- Sweet cider - 220 calories
- Vintage sweet cider - 580 calories
How Many Calories Are In Wine?
- Red wine - 119 calories
- Rose wine - 125 calories
- White wine (sweet) - 165 calories
- White wine (medium) - 132 calories
- White wine (sweet) - 116 calories
- Sparkling white wine - 133 calories
How Many Calories Are In Spirits?
(25ml pub measure)
- Vodka, gin, whisky, brandy, rum etc - 52 calories
- Liqueurs (25ml pub measure)
- Tia Maria, Cherry Brandy, Advocaat - 66 calories
- Cointreau, Drambuie - 79 calories
- Cream liqueurs - 81 calories
(And don't forget to add the calories for the mixers.)
How to Burn off the Calories in Beer
To burn off a 180 kcal pint of bitter (a fairly tame beast in the drinks comparison league), you'd need to do any of the following:
- 14 minutes of running
- 17 minutes of swimming
- 20 minutes of football
- 28 minutes of cycling
- 29 minutes badminton
- 44 minutes of walking