Energy in alcoholic drinks

Energy (kilojoules/Calories) in alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks can add more Calories or kilojoules to our daily diet than we realise.

It’s the alcohol itself that is the main source of energy (kilojoules or Calories), with each gram of alcohol containing 29 kilojoules or 7 Calories. This is more than protein or sugars/carbohydrates (17 kilojoules or 4 Calories per gram) but less than fat (37 kilojoules or 9 Calories per gram).

Other than providing kilojoules, alcoholic drinks have very few nutrients needed for health.

Kilojoule or Calorie information is not usually on alcoholic drink labels. This makes it hard to find out how many kilojoules are in drinks or to compare drinks. Unlike non-alcoholic drinks and packaged foods, alcoholic drinks are not required to be labelled with kilojoules or nutrient content information, unless a nutrient claim is made, such as ‘99% sugar free’.

As a general guide, the higher the percentage of alcohol, the more kilojoules there will be in a drink. Sweeter drinks or drinks that contain sweetened mixers, such as ready-to-drink spirits (RTDs), or cream also have more kilojoules. What we eat and drink alongside also contributes kilojoules. Have a look at some examples. 

Download an infosheet on energy (kilojoules/Calories) in alcoholic beverages (it includes the above graphic) (PDF, 170 KB)

Download the graphic only of kiljoules in alcoholic and non-alcohlic drinks and foods (PDF, 45 KB)