At the end of the day, many of us like to unwind with a glass of something (often alcohol based), but did you know that a standard glass of wine can contain as many calories (kcal) as 3 chocolate biscuits, and a pint of lager has about the same calorie count as a packet of crisps? In fact, alcohol contains almost as many calories per gram (7kcal) as fat (9kcal).
On average 1 unit of alcohol provides 56kcal and once other ingredients are added such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices or energy drinks it is easy to see how alcohol can account for 10% of all calories consumed for adults in the UK.
Calories from alcohol are considered ’empty calories’ – this is because they have no nutritional value! In addition, because our bodies cannot store alcohol, it treats removing it from our system as a priority over other vital functions such as absorbing nutrients and burning fat.
To reduce your calorific intake through alcohol, try the following:
- Stick to your daily recommended units per day
- Choose smaller measures, or choose a bottled beer instead of a can
- Dilute alcohol with water or a diet/low-calorie soft drink
- Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- Keep a few nights each week alcohol free
- Eat a healthy meal before you start drinking to avoid being tempted for less healthy foods later
- Try cutting down with a friend – you’ll be twice as likely to stick to a regime with moral support
- If drinking wine then choose a dry wine which may contain fewer calories due to lower sugar content
- For lager drinkers, try a lower calorie alternative which is now widely available
More information can be found at www.drinkaware.co.uk and www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/supporter-resources/downloads/C4L_alcohol_booklet.pdf