Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Getting into the spirits of the season

Too often food has been to blame for the pounds put on over the holidays, when in fact alcohol can contribute quite a bit. It is a little known fact that alcohol itself contains calories- more calories than carbs or protein per gram! Pure alcohol contains 7 calories per gram whereas carbs and protein each contain 4 cal per gram. That means that although those vodka sodas may be lower in calories than gin & tonic, it still contains calories.

Here is a fun down of the calories found in popular drinks:

Regular beer (12oz): ~150cal

Light beer (12oz): ~100cal

Red, white or rose wine (5oz): ~100cal

Vodka, rum, whiskey, gin (1oz): 65cal

Baileys (1oz): 100cal

One or even two simple drinks on occasion does not add up to be many calories in the long run however, pair a few drinks (~400cal) with an average holiday meal of 1000cal and you can easily consume a days worth of calories in one evening.

One easy way to lower the impact of drinks on your health is to drink smaller quantities. This can be done by either using smaller glasses or diluting drinks with low calorie mixers such as club soda.
Pairing each drink with a glass of sparkling water not only allows you to hold on to something while mingling, but also fills you up.
Also, if you are thirsty it is best to quench it first with water before diving into the egg nog. Often we forget about how much water we need when the hot days of summer are long gone.

Canadian recommendations for drinks containing alcohol are 0-1 per day (Max 9 drinks per week) for women and 1-2 per day (max 14 drinks per week) for men. Most other countries have similar recommendations however, their serving sizes do vary. Of course, over the holidays we tend to indulge more than usual, but keep in mind the calories can add up quickly with all the parties this time of year.
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