Ever wondered how many calories are in your Friday night G&T?

How Many Calories in G&T
Are gin and tonics a healthier choice?Getty Images

How are you feeling about gin these days? Still obsessed? Or ready to break up? You might also be wondering if the botanical spirit is somewhat better for you than, say, a vodka with soda and lime. Especially since, compared to other alcoholic beverages like beer and wine, one serving of gin is low in calories and carbs. But can gin ever be healthy?

Is gin healthy?

Short answer; no. After all, gin is a spirit – and spirits have a much higher concentration of alcohol, with an ABV of anywhere between 37.5% to 50%, and a lower amount of polyphenols than wines and beers. Wine, in comparison, is more like 12.5-14.5%. And you can’t get away from the negatives of drinking alcohol – it’s been linked with brain damage, reduced brain growth and high blood pressure over the years. So no alcohol will ever be considered a healthy drink. But that's not to say that it’s the worst thing you can choose to mix up.

So, to get to the bottom of this all-importance question, and to find out exactly what nutrition is lurking in the calories of a G&T, we caught up with registered nutritionist Rob Hobson, for his expert insight into the health details of the beverage.

How many calories are in a gin and tonic?

Let’s get straight down to business and find out how many calories are in a G&T.

Just gin

Single shot = 61 calories

Double shot = 122 calories

Served with 150ml regular tonic

Single = 93 calories

Double = 154 calories

Served with 150ml slimline tonic

Single = 64 calories

Double = 125 calories

And, before you start umming and ahhing over which of the UK’s 361 distilleries to choose between (not to mention those from abroad), no, the difference in calories between gin producers is negligible says Hobson. Even between tonic waters, it’s not that significant.

How does gin compare to vodka?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture – the UK equivalent has not released this information – the calories in vodka and gin are identical as long as the proof they have the same proof.

One thing to note is that often vodka will be served with soda water, which is normally calorie and sugar-free because it's essentially sparkling water. Tonic, that is served with gin, does contain sugar so increases the calorie content.

What are the health benefits of gin and tonic?

When it comes to your favourite tipple, we’d be wrong to pretend that drinking G&Ts is going to do wonders for your health (sorry). However, as Hobson says, gin is made from juniper berries, which do have some nutritional pros. ‘But whether their benefits would exist to any significant degree in a 25ml shot, is another matter,’ Hobson says.

1. Juniper berries contain vitamin C

‘Although much of this would likely be destroyed during production,’ says Hobson, ‘serving your G&T with a big wedge of lemon can help to get some extra vitamin C into your day.’ Vitamin C is associated with better immune system function, for starters.

2. G&Ts are relatively low in calories

‘When compared to, say, a glass of wine, a slimline gin and tonic has a lower calorie content than other alcoholic drinks.’ So, a better option, then, for those of you who are trying to watch your macros.

3. G&Ts are less likely to give you a hangover

‘Unlike darker alcoholic drinks such as red wine and brown spirits, gin doesn’t contain congeners, which are produced as part of the fermentation process. These substances can make symptoms of a hangover much worse.’

4. Gin is a natural spirit

‘Gin is produced quite naturally as it is simply a blend of botanicals, which in themselves may also hold heath-boosting properties.’ Think coriander seeds, citrus peel and angelica, thought to alleviate heartburn and gas.

5. Quinine can prevent restless legs

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, nocturnal leg cramps are twice as common in summer than in winter. Quinine is commonly prescribed to treat the condition – and the tonic in your G&T is a source a quinine.

A word on gin and tonic

One shot of gin is about one unit and, according to the NHS, you should keep your alcohol intake below 14 units per week, spreading your drinking over at least three days in the week, with several alcohol-free days.

Life and wellness are all about moderation and balance. ‘If you drink, do it sensibly,’ says Hobson. ‘Stay within your units per week. In terms of G&Ts, that equates to seven doubles per week. Space them out, though, rather than saving them for a weekend binge.’

What's the best way to make a gin and tonic?

‘My personal favourite is gin served with Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light tonic,’ says Hobson. ‘I don’t like the bitter and super sweet taste of artificial sweeteners, so this is a happy medium as it contains less sugar and calories than most other brands but is not artificially sweetened. I would add plenty of fresh fruits or vegetables, including cucumber or lemon, for a twist.’

Or, try one of these non-alcoholic alternatives

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