Calorie Content in Alcohol

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Calorie Content in Alcohol

Do you know how many calories you are consuming in your drinks? And we are not just referring to alcoholic beverages…. It can even be a fruit juice!

The problem with beverages is that they contain ‘’empty’’ calories … Meaning that your body treats it like a calorie (leading to weight gain) but there is absolutely no nutritional content at all. Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy. While we can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can’t store alcohol. So our systems want to get rid of it, and doing so takes priority. All of the other processes that should be taking place (including absorbing nutrients and burning fat) are interrupted. This is what leads to weight gain.

Did you know that a glass of wine can have the same amount of calories as four cookies? And a pint of lager (500ml of beer) can equal a slice of pizza in calories (197 kCal). Pretty Scary!

Women are always complaining about their waist line. But what they may not be aware of, is that just 2 glasses of white wine, could take them up to 20% of their recommended daily calorie intake, before they’ve even eaten anything yet.

But what actually gives alcohol the right to be so fattening?

Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar. So, your drink is going to be very sugary, which turns to fat, when it’s not burnt off. Fermentation, and distillation for certain drinks, is used to produce the alcohol content. This helps explain why alcohol contains lots of calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as a gram of fat. And, of course, additional calories can be present in added mixer drinks.

Plus, many of us add to our growing calorie count by having snacks, such as chips, nuts or biltong to accompany our drink. Taking the count even higher! If you end up with a serious hangover, you could make the calorie count EVEN HIGHER the next day by biting into a hangover meal like a greasy cooked breakfast or take-aways.

So what can I do to reduce the amount of calories I’m consuming through alcohol?

Let’s face it! Who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky beer or a chilled glass of wine or a delicious cocktail on a night out? So what can we do to lessen the weight gain?

Look out for brands that now have ‘light’ low alcohol alternatives containing fewer calories. Some ‘light’ wines have under 80 calories in a 175ml glass compared to 159 calories in the same measure of 13% ABV wine. Switching to low calorie drinks can help to beat a beer belly. Another way to drink fewer calories is to opt for a low calorie mixer such as a diet coke or soda. Drinking water or low calorie soft drinks between alcoholic drinks is not only a good way to reduce your calorie intake but also helps to reduce the amount of units you’re drinking.

So what exactly is the damage?

 



Drink Calories (kcal)
A standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine 126 kcal
A pint of 5% strength beer 215 kcal
A glass (50ml) of (17%) cream liqueur 118 kcal
A standard bottle (330ml) of 5% alcopop (eg. Smirnoff Spin) 237 kcal

There is so much joy in having a glass or 2 of your favourite drink. But if you are conscious of your weight, or feel like you’re starting to gain weight… then just be mindful of how much you’re drinking, as this could be wear the problem lies.

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