Calories in your drink?
Yes, alcohol contains calories. Make that BIG calories. This is why not being able to resist a drink at a social do is a weight-watcher's nightmare come true.
Another misconception is that alcohol is a carbohydrate.
Alcohol is most definitely not a source of energy. What alcohol molecules do is affect the brain to make one feel euphoric -- this is often mistaken for energy.
Now, let's get talking about the actual calorie content -- alcohol has about seven calories per gram.
This makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about four calories per gram) and just under the caloric value for fat (nine calories per gram).
The calories derived from alcohol are called 'empty' calories because they contain no beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
1) One bottle of beer contains about 150 calories.
2) Beer, wine and liquor (an alcoholic beverage made by distillation rather than fermentation) all contain different quantities of alcohol; 15 mugs (250 ml per mug) of beer, 6 glasses (200 ml per glass) of wine and 10 shots of liquor (like tequila, whisky, rum) have about the same amount of alcohol.
3) Beer has between three to eight percent alcohol. 'Light' or low-cal beers contain around three percent alcohol.
4) Liqueurs (sweetened spirits with various flavours, oils and extracts) such as sherry and dessert liqueurs contain 40 to 50 percent alcohol and tend to have more calories.
5) White wines average 12 percent, while red wines have around 14 percent alcohol.
Note: The number of calories also depends on the size of the peg.
Adding any carbonated beverage or fruit juice would increase the calorie content of the drink as juices and beverages contain calories.
Calorie count for popular cocktails
Serving size is one glass (200 ml)
Mint Julep 143
Old Fashioned 206
Pina Colada 297
Singapore Sling 230
Sloe Gin Fizz 120
Tequila Sunrise 253
Tom Collins 120
Black Russian 291
Whisky Sour 166
Blue Lagoon 179
White Russian 360
The downside of Cheers!
Alcohol increases craving for itself and other food items that are high in calories (salted peanuts, fried chips, anyone?).
One beer every night adds upto 1,036 additional calories per week, or six to seven kilos to your stomach per year! No wonder they call it a beer belly.
Scientists have not been able to find out whether consistently consuming alcohol leads to weight gain.
Some studies have found that drinking beer or spirits increases the waist-to-hip ratio, while some have found no relationship whatsoever.
The ideal hip to waist ratio should be less than one (divide the size of your waist by the size of your hips). If the number you get is more than one, it is a sign you could be prone to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other heart-related conditions.
There may never be a simple answer, since there are so many variables involved. What we do know is that the body processes alcohol before fat, protein or carbohydrates. Thus, drinking slows down the burning of fat.
This means that if you love your drink AND want to lose weight, you have a major uphill task in your hands.
As a nutritionist, I would suggest you consume alcohol in moderation. If you are serious about losing weight, avoid drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Remember that the calories from alcohol add up quickly, and they go straight to the your abdomen and add to its size.
Tips for party drinking
1) Dilute your drink with soda.
2) Add ice cubes to keep it chilly and light.
3) If you are preparing an alcohol punch, use a non-carbonated base like fruit juice. It should preferably be fresh.
4) Eat plenty of food before you start drinking. Eating high protein foods like cheese, low-fat paneer, soya-based snacks, chicken and fish will slow down torption rate so that the alcohol will not hit your system at once.
5) Avoid too many salty snacks, which end-up making you thirsty as a result of which you drink more.
6) Sip your drink slowly instead of guzzling it down. Munch on a snack while downing it.
Make sure the snack is roasted or baked, not deep-fried.
The next time you are at a social gathering and have the urge to guzzle down another peg, envision that big wobbly belly that could put a beanbag to shame and head for the water cooler instead.