Wine wobble woes and beer belly battles!

Excessive drinking isn’t good for us, we all know that at this stage. But do you really know how much it can affect your weight?

In recent years, I think we are becoming more aware that calories absolutely count in liquid form - parents are slowly but surely reducing the amount of sugary drinks they give their children but are we adults following suit when it comes to alcohol?

I think, for many of us, if we were being completely honest with ourselves, are drinking too much from time to time. Binge-drinking is defined as more than six units of alcohol - that's three pints. It's considered a binge because more than six units causes adverse physical effects. Not to mention the mental health effects it can have. But in terms of your weight, these effects include the following:

It stops fat burning

Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. That’s between fat (9 calories) and carbohydrates (4 calories). So drinking alcohol puts the brakes on fat burning until it’s out of your system. When hungover, you may crave sugar and eat junk (mmmm kebabs) and even if you do make it to the gym, you won’t get the same results from a workout because you won’t have fuelled your body correctly.

It’s a waste of calories

Calories from alcohol are useless, or ‘empty’ is the term most often used; they don’t provide any nutrients. If you are wondering why you’re not seeing results from healthy eating and regular exercise, this might be the reason if you still drink a bit too much alcohol. Basically, fuelling your body with foods that provide energy and nutrients, instead of drinking "empty" calories, may very well result in you achieving your weight loss goals.

A serving of alcohol is the same as having a dessert

Something that has helped me pay more attention to what I’m drinking, is to visualise alcohol the same way you would a dessert or treat food. My tipple of choice is white wine. A half a bottle of white wine shared over dinner would have around 300 calories. That is equal to eating a Mars bar by my calculations. Here are some more calorie equivalents to think about…

comparing calories in food to calories in alcohol

Keeping calories from alcohol at bay:

  • Be mindful of what you drink. Keep tabs on what you are drinking and avoid bingeing for many health reasons, including your weight
  • Change your tipple – order a low calorie or "light" version of your favourite drink and choose low sugar mixers, which pack fewer calories. To avoid the munchies while you're out, eat a healthy meal beforehand and avoid late night junk food on the way home.
  • Ask for water when you order – it will slow you down

There will always be a time for big celebrations, (ROI/NI both qualifying for the second round of the Euros 2016 is definitely one!) but on the whole, I think it’s time to minimise the hangover. It’s time for a change.

To find out more about the calorie content of alcohol, look at our Calorie guide to alcoholic drinks.

Posted: 24/06/2016 15:58:59 by Julie Carroll
Filed under: Diet, Drink, Food

About Me

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Julie Carroll
I work with the Communications team in safefood. My background is in Marketing and PR and I work on our awareness campaigns, promotional activities and events. I’m a Dublin native who lives in Co. Kildare with my husband. I love anything beauty/health related, crime dramas (True Detective being a favourite) and anything social that involves my family and friends. I recently became an aunt for the first time and am in love with my new nephew, Seán.