Is non alcoholic gin lower in calories?
One of the big reasons to change to non alcoholic gin is that it considerably lower in calories. Does that mean it helps you lose fat and weight?
Non alcoholic gin has far fewer calories than alcoholic gin. It contains around 5% of the calories of regular gin but don’t have the metabolism slowing effects of alcohol which further exacerbates the calorie difference. This means you have less free energy to convert to fat.
Is non alcoholic gin lower in calories? – vs normal gin
At this point it’s probably good to note that whilst everyone quotes “calories”, what they actually mean is “kilocalories” (kcal). For the remainder of this article when i write calories i am referring to kilocalories (kcal).
Its also a good reminder that non alcoholic, dealcoholised and alcohol free do not all mean the same thing. It is best to read the label to see if the wine is <0.5% ABV or 0.0% ABV. For a full explanation and how to check, read my blog on the topic
The USDA state a standard measure of gin (and all distilled spirits) has 97 kcal per 1.5 fl oz (44ml). We can use this as a decent generic reference point to start from.
I know there will be a large range within the craft gin world with lots of new flavours, additives and alcohol contents but it acts as a good surrogate for comparison.
We can look at 2 household name regular gins with their alcohol free alternatives as well as some of the other up and coming low/non alcoholic offerings.
- Tanqueray Export
Low/Non alcoholic and alcohol free gins
- Gordon’s 0.0%
- Tanqueray 0.0%
- Seedlip 0.5% (not technically gin as different botanicals than juniper)
- Clean Co Clean G 0.5%
|Gin||Kcal count per 1.5 fl oz||% of calories||% of calories saved|
|Standard USDA measure gin||97||100%||0%|
|Tanqueray Export 43.1%||105||108%||-8%|
|Clean Co Clean G 0.5%||12||12%||88%|
Well those results are categoric aren’t they. Non and no alcohol gins have just a fraction of the calories and some have zero calories! That is outstanding.
Quite clearly if you are a regular gin drinker, then swapping some or all of your drinks to a non alcoholic alternative will have a huge calorie saving.
What about the mixers?
You rarely drink a straight gin do you? Id say nearly every gin is paired with a tonic. The amount of craft tonics is as myriad as the craft gins these days. What is the calorie load of these? Which combo should i be drinking for weight loss?
I will choose 4 from the FeverTree range…
- Elderflower Tonic Water
- Light Indian Tonic Water
- Premium Indian Tonic Water
- Aromatic Tonic Water
|FeverTree Tonic||Kcal per 150ml mixer||Sugar per 150ml mixer|
|Elderflower Tonic Water||51||11.7g|
|Light Indian Tonic Water||23||4.4g|
|Premium Indian Tonic Water||42||10.7|
|Aromatic Tonic Water||56||11.7g|
So there is a big variation in the types of tonic mixer you can get and seemingly they are full of sugar.
Why should we care about reducing calories?
Se we’ve seen there are huge calorie savings to be made switching to non alcoholic gin. The next question is why is this good, how is this a benefit to you?
A pound of fat is anywhere from 3,436 to 3,752 calories. That is the amount of calories you have to be deficit to lose a pound of fat from your body.
A usually target for diets is to have a daily calorie deficit of 500kcal to total up to 3500-3600kcal in a week. That would be roughly equal to losing a pound of fat.
A gin and 150ml regular tonic is about 150kcal
|Food or beverage||Kcal count|
|3 G&Ts||450 kcal|
|3 0.0% gins and light tonics||84kcal|
|100g donut with chocolate||452 kcal|
|2 Mars Bars||460 kcal|
In the table above you can see the calories in 3 gin and tonics, is the same as 2 chocolate bars or 100g chocolate donut. This highlights just how many easy calories you can drink.
Over the course of 10 weeks, if you were to drink x3 regular gin and tonics a week, vs x3 0.0% gins with light tonics, then you would be full pound heavier. You would have a pound of fat extra on your body.
Are non alcoholic gins just full of sugar?
Neither alcoholic or non alcoholic gin has any added sugar or carbohydrate
In general, non and zero alcoholic gins have no sugar in line with their full alcoholic equivalent. All of their calorie saving comes from removing the alcohol. Any added sugar will come from the mixer which can have a variety of added sugar content.
The main source of additional unwanted sugar is going to come from the mixer. I think it would be interesting to see what the worst combo vs the best combo is from the examples above.
|Gin||Tonic||Total calories||Total sugar|
|Tanqueray export||FeverTree Aromatic Tonic||161||11.7g|
|Tanqueray export||FeverTree Light Indian Tonic||128||4.4g|
|Tanqueray 0.0%||FeverTree Aromatic Tonic||61||11.7|
|Tanqueray 0.0%||FeverTree Light Indian Tonic||28||4.4g|
The 0.0% Gins are universally lower calories but if you also want to reduce your added sugar and therefore calories further you need to look at your mixer as well. They can come laden with calories and sugar.
In the above example there is a 133kcal and 7.3g sugar difference at worst. This is very high and certainly worth taking into account in your decisions.
So is non alcoholic gin less fattening?
Many factors go into if you will gain weight but i’ll generalise here. Alcohol is itself calorie dense and we have shown there is a big reduction in calories if you switch to non alcoholic gin.
You would take in less calories for a given volume and have a relative calorie deficit and be a lower weight drinking non alcoholic vs alcoholic.
The alcohol also acts in other ways in the gut. It can slow metabolism and slow food transit through the gut.
This can lead you to absorbing more calories from food and burning less calories, further exacerbating the calorie difference. Add in when you drink alcohol you tend to eat more unhealthy food anyway!
In general, non alcoholic gin is less fattening than regular gin. They contain around 5% of the calories of regular gin but don’t have the metabolism slowing effects of alcohol which further exacerbates the calorie difference. This means you have less free energy to convert to fat.
Is non alcoholic gin good for a weight loss diet?
Yes, non alcoholic gins are great if you are looking to lose weight and swapping from regular gins. To maximise the calorie loss and weight loss, i would advise pairing them with the lower calorie, light tonics and mixers.
For a full 11 reasons to try non alcoholic gin, then follow this link to my article