Do vapes have calories?

We unravel the mystery of vaping calories and their potential impact on your health and weight goals.

Written by
Sophie Overett
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
August 15, 2023
min read
Do vapes have calories?
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When trying to lose weight, navigating what you eat and drink can often feel like the easy part. After all, from TV shows to specialised cookbooks to your local dietitian, there’s a wealth of information out there to help guide you through the steps to build the healthiest diet for your body.

Rarely though is food and drink all we consume — from medications to herbal supplements, there’s plenty that we ingest and inhale that can throw a spanner in the works when it comes to losing weight.

Smoking and e-cigarettes in particular can have their own impact on our health, including weight gain and loss.

Understanding the implications of that are important to navigating any health journey, so let's take a look at what vaping is, what vaping calories are, and what impact electronic cigarettes and e-liquids could have on your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

What is vaping?

Put simply, vaping is the act of smoking an e-cigarette, otherwise known as a vape.

Vapes are a battery-powered device that heats liquid into an aerosol that you inhale into your lungs, basically tricking your body into thinking it’s smoking [1].

Originally, e-cigarettes were designed to help wean people off traditional cigarettes and tobacco — an important step in helping them to quit smoking — but their use has become widespread among people who had never been smokers.  

The liquid in e-cigarettes contains a mix of chemicals that varies depending on the vape liquid purchased. Some have more harmful substances than others, but generally speaking, vape juices contain water, propylene glycol and glycerol, vegetable glycerin, flavours and sometimes a percentage of nicotine [3].

Do vapes have calories? How many calories are in vape juice?

Yes, your e-juice does contain calories, but the short answer is, it’s not very many.

One study cited by Colombia University quotes roughly 20 calories per a typical vape cartridge [4], meaning vape juice is unlikely to bring on any unwanted weight gain on its own.

Does vaping affect blood sugar levels?

While smoking cigarettes has a well-documented and well-researched history in regard to blood sugar levels and diabetes risks, unfortunately, the evidence when it comes to vaping is still in its preliminary phases.

That said, these early studies have indicated that the nicotine in vape juice caused significant blood sugar spikes, with hemoglobin A1C levels rising up to 34% over 3 months, creating an increased risk of diabetes, eye disease, heart disease and kidney disease [5] — meaning their health impact can be much more serious than just a change in weight.  

Will e-cigarettes make you gain or lose weight?

That’s sort of a how long is a piece of string question.

It’s well-known that traditional smoking does cause weight loss. Tobacco is an anti-inflammatory and nicotine an appetite suppressant, which means people making the transition to e-cigarettes can find themselves sometimes gaining weight.

With vape juices not always containing nicotine, a return of an appetite, sometimes to excess, can cause quite a surprise. A study in the UK in fact found that the mean weight increase after quitting traditional smoking was 4.8kg in the first year, with most of that weight being put on within 3 months [2].

That said, some studies have also found that vaping and the use of e-cigarettes could potentially influence weight loss due to the behavioural aspects of vaping [2]. The motion of hand-to-mouth followed by the consumption of steam, can create a sense that a person has eaten, and naturally fill the void that snacking would ordinarily do.

How to approach weight loss holistically

The key takeaway here is that vaping is not a solution to losing weight and it can have other health impacts — from hair loss to erectile dysfunction — that can severely affect your quality of life.

Weight loss is something that needs to be approached as a lifestyle change, and with a sense of grace and patience. Instead, when it comes to losing weight, try to think about the following:

What you eat

This one probably feels like a no-brainer, but really understanding what you eat and drink, and when, is crucial to changing your daily habits. After all, you can’t change what you don’t know, so to start with, try keeping a food diary.

Don’t just document what you eat either, document when you eat, how you’re feeling, and your hunger level at the time [6]. Be as honest as possible when you do it, as this will give you something concrete to measure.

Try to also increase your fruit and vegetable intake, cut back on added fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, and keep the soft drinks, lollies and snack foods as a treat.

In too much of a hurry to cook? You might want to consider trying a meal replacement shake like Pilot’s Weight Reset Shakes. These shakes are packed with 29.5g of high-quality protein as well as 20 vitamins and minerals, to keep you on the go and support your general health.

Why you eat

Sure, you eat when you’re hungry, but a lot of the time, we can be motivated to eat by other emotions too, from boredom to social anxiety to eating to stay awake — this is known as emotional eating.

Documenting this in your food diary can be another asset in changing your behaviour and your relationship with food.

Staying physical

While it’s definitely great to get regular physical exercise such as swimming, running or heading to a weekly yoga class, know that incidental activities can also be a great way to stay active.

Activities like gardening, housework, playing with your kids and walking your dog can help you to get moving and stay moving without feeling like you're having to sacrifice something in your busy life to stay fit. Embrace movement in any way you can.

Getting help if you need it

Weight loss is best approached through a holistic lens, where lifestyle changes have to be made to achieve long-term results, instead of viewing weight loss as a diet.

Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program takes a holistic approach to weight loss with a combination of targeted weight loss and medical science.

Our program uses breakthrough medication that introduces hormones that are naturally produced in your gut to decrease your appetite. Plus, we provide community support from our medical team, Aussie practitioners, coaches and even a supportive community of like-minded men on the journey with you.

We also offer personal goal-setting and health coaching to help you make healthy lifestyle changes, lose weight and keep it off.

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