(This article is also available as an audio recording).

Big pint or Big Mac?

Drinking 4 bottles of wine a month adds up to 27,000 calories which is equivalent to eating 48 Big Macs per year. Drinking 5 pints of lager each week adds up to 44,200 calories which is equivalent to 221 Krispy Kreme chocolate coated doughnuts each year, so if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s not only about what you eat but also about what you drink!

How does alcohol cause weight gain?

Alcohol contains a lot of calories, 7 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram, making alcohol almost as many calories as a gram of fat. Plus, don’t forget about the calories in your mixers such as tonic, juices and fizzy drinks such as Cola.

The majority of alcoholic drinks are made from natural starch and sugar, so have hardly any nutritional value but are still high in calories.

A couple of drinks on occasion may not be noticeable on your waistline but regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your weight and cause less obvious, but more serious health problems.

Tips to avoid weight gain

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach, and if you do decide to snack while drinking choose healthier options.
  • Drink at your own pace, buying rounds for one another can mean you end up drinking more than you may have initially intended.
  • Alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water as this will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
  • Stick to the recommended guidelines and do not drink more than 14 units in a week.
  • If you are planning to cut down, do it with a friend or partner as you’ll be more likely to stick to it with an accountability partner.
  • Eat a healthy meal before you start drinking so you’re less likely to be tempted to go for a less healthy option following a few drinks such as fast food or crisps.
  • If you’re drinking white wine, try adding a splash of soda water to help the same number of units last longer.

If you are participating in Dry January, or would like to hear some tips about reducing alcohol intake, listen to this recording by our Drug and Alcohol Practitioner Stefani.

References


Updated on: 20/04/2022