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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

When using cider in cooking, is all the alcohol burnt off?

Hi, If I use cider in a casserole, or wine for that matter, how do I count the calories? Surely the alcohol is lost in the cooking process so the calories can't be the same as they would have been in a glass!? Appreciate the help.

A.

Our expert says...

Unfortunately not all alcohol is burned off during the cooking process and some will remain in the dish when it is consumed.

The only way to completely remove the alcohol is to 'flambe' it - i.e. light the alcohol such as on a Christmas pudding - this process burns off the alcohol. The normal cooking process will use up some of the alcohol through evaporation but will still retain some. It's difficult to give exact amounts because the evaporation process will differ depending on the type of alcohol and the cooking method and length.

Calories in an alcoholic drink don't just come from the alcohol part of the drink either unfortunately - other ingredients such as sugar will add calories to the drink too and these don't get burned off at all during cooking. Because of this, and not knowing how much of the alcohol itself has burned off, the full number of calories added to the dish are likely to remain present.

To be on the safe side it is therefore best to add the full calorie content from a whatever quantity of wine or cider that you add to your cooking - it's better to overestimate the calories in a meal, than to underestimate and then overeat elsewhere.

Hope that helps!

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