As January and a new year begins many of us will begin attempting to put into action our new year’s resolutions.
Many people may be embarking upon a ‘dry January’ as a way of kick-starting a healthier 2020. Often people can find that avoiding alcohol can help with weight loss , leaving them pondering just how much alcohol actually contributes to weight gain.
The answer isn’t quite as clear-cut as we might think, of course drinking alcohol adds additional energy to our daily calorie intake but it may also contribute to weight gain in other ways too.
Let’s begin by considering the amount of energy we actually consume with alcohol, most people know that drinks differ in terms of their calorie content, but it’s probably fair to also say that most of us don’t count alcohol calories on a Saturday night out (or in).
If wine is your drink of choice one 175ml glass contains around 130-160Kcal, which adds up to between 550- 650Kcal for the full bottle!
A pint of lager can contain 180Kcal with beer coming in at slightly higher 200Kcal for a pint.
Spirits can be slightly less calorific, averaging about 60Kcal per measure (standard pub measure). Choosing a diet mixer rather than fruit juice or a sugary cola or lemonade can keep from bumping up the calories.
Alcohol also affects our appetite, most of us can relate to the late night craving for a kebab on the way home after a night out, but even a drink or two at home or with a meal can lead us to making food choices that we would otherwise avoid when trying to lose weight. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, and willpower, making it easier to give in to the biscuit tin or dessert menu!
Alcohol can affect our sleep, causing restless sleep and less REM sleep, leaving us feeling exhausted and run down the following day. This can interfere with plans to exercise and eat healthily the next day. Cravings for sugary pick me ups are notorious in those of us who have slept poorly.
So, what’s the bottom line? If you drink regularly and really want to effectively lose weight and keep it off, you need to factor the cost of your individual alcohol consumption in real terms. Keep track of what you normally drink in a week and work out how much extra you will need to reduce your food intake, or how much extra exercise you will need to do to allow for these additional calories.
Try to come up with a plan which will allow you to enjoy a drink, but still lose weight. You might build in some alcohol-free nights every week, or switch to drinking less calorific drinks or mixers. Or you might simply try to cut down by alternating alcoholic drinks with a low calorie soft drink.
If you would like to discuss a calorie controlled weight loss plan, contact us at Stanner Nutrition Clinic for a plan designed around your individual needs.