Whoever coined the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ probably didn’t do so in reference to cider – sorry to have to tell you that. But how does this popular alcoholic beverage compare to beer in terms of the number of calories and carbohydrates? If this is something you’re interested in finding out, then this article on whether or not cider is more or less calorific than beer is for you.
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Where Do the Calories in Cider and Beer Come From?
The calorie count in cider or beer is dependent upon two things: the levels of alcohol and the amount of sugar or carbohydrates.
Considering that alcohol has a total of seven calories per gram compared to four calories per gram for carbohydrates, the ABV of an alcoholic beverage often has the most impact on the total number of calories.
Based on this, how does the alcoholic content differ between cider and beer?
Does Cider Contain More Alcohol Than Beer?
Looking at the most popular brands, the ABV between the two alcoholic beverages is pretty consistent. For instance, Strongbow, Magners, Bulmers, Thatchers, Kopparberg, Rekorderlig and Stowford Press all fall within 4 to 5 percent ABV, which is a range that the likes of Stella Artois, Heineken, Budweiser, Guinness, Fosters and Carling also all fall within.
There are, of course, exceptions to this, such as Henry Westons Oak Aged Herefordshire Cider with an ABV of 8.2%, but for the majority of the ciders found on draught in your local pub the ABV is typically around 4 to 5 percent.
Does Cider Contain More Carbohydrates Than Beer?
With similar levels of alcohol content, the amount of sugar or carbohydrates holds the key to the number of calories in cider versus beer.
Fermented with fruits such as apples, peaches and pears – all of which have a naturally high degree of sugar in them – cider has a much higher overall sugar content than beer, which is fermented with low-sugar grains such as hops and barley. Although a degree of sugar will often be later added to beer to balance the flavour, the impact of the different fermentation process results in cider most often having a higher number of carbohydrates.
But what about dry ciders? Whilst it’s true that this type of cider does contain less sugar as a result of the yeast being allowed to consume the majority of the cider’s natural sugars, this process results in higher levels of alcohol, which in turn increases the number of calories overall.
Notably, the trend is definitely much more towards sweeter cider than dry at the moment, as depicted by the emergence of a growing number of flavoured ciders, such as strawberry and lime, from the likes of Kopparberg and Rekorderlig, as well as Strongbow and Magners with their dark fruits alternative.
Does Cider Contain More Calories Than Beer?
The all-important question: is cider more or less calorific than beer?
To answer this, let’s firstly look at the number of calories in cider across the most popular brands available:
- Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime - 330 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Henry Westons Oak Aged Herefordshire Cider - 280 calories (500ml; 8.2%)
- Rekorderlig Passionfruit - 275 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Bulmers Crushed Red Berries & Lime Cider - 275 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime - 275 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Kopparberg Mixed Fruits - 275 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Thatchers Haze Cloudy Somerset Cider - 245 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Magners Pear Irish Cider - 235 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Thatchers Gold Somerset Cider - 230 calories (500ml; 4.8%)
- Strongbow Cloudy Apple Cider - 230 calories (500ml; 4.4%)
- Magners Dark Fruit Irish Cider - 220 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Kopparberg Pear Cider- 215 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Magners Original Irish Cider - 210 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Bulmers Original Cider - 210 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Scrumpy Jack British Cider - 210 calories (500ml; 6.0%)
- Strongbow Dark Fruit Cider - 200 calories (500ml; 4.0%)
- Stowford Press English Cider - 185 calories (500ml; 4.5%)
- Strongbow Original Cider - 175 calories (500ml; 5.0%)
- Kopparberg Summer Fruits Light - 170 calories (500ml; 4%)
Using an often standard measure for cider – the 500ml bottle – the average number of calories above is 234 calories. For comparison to beer, this is 47 calories per 100ml.
Now, if we reference our recent article on calories in beer, the average number of calories per 100ml in beer across the most popular brands in the UK comes out as 40 calories.
So, there we have it, cider does appear to contain more calories than beer, which is due largely to the higher levels of sugar content from its different fermentation process.
Are There Any Low Calorie Ciders Available in the UK?
By far and away the lowest calorie cider in the UK is the recently launched Skinny Cider from Skinny Brands at 149 calories per 500ml bottle. Compared against all of the ciders listed above, for example, this comes in at 36% fewer calories on average. In fact, compared against an alternative on the market from Kopparberg and their light range, it still comes in at 12% less calories.
Deciding to add this low calorie cider to our range of lower calorie alcohol was a no-brainer for us here at DrinkWell. Deciding to switch to it if you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake from cider should also be a no-brainer.
Therefore, if you’re someone conscious of the number of calories in the alcohol that you’re drinking, make sure to grab yourself a case of Skinny Cider and discover for yourself the full authentic apple flavour of the UK’s lowest calorie cider.
Drink Responsibly. Drink Smart. Drink Skinny.
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