Most people like to kick back on the weekend and relax with a few drinks around the BBQ, or perhaps head down to the pub or out to the club to meet up for drinks with friends. Drinking alcohol is a part of the Australian culture. But how much does drinking affect energy intake? It can be difficult to know exactly how many calories you’re ingesting because most alcoholic beverages do NOT contain nutrition labelling like foods do, so they don’t tell you how many calories, how much sugar, or exactly what ingredients you’re getting.
Generally speaking, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories, but calories also come from the sugar in the mixers. The lowest calorie options are simple wine, beer, straight spirits or spirits with low calorie mixers like soda water and lime. Once you start adding multiple shots and lots of sweet mixers, the calorie count skyrockets.
Not only do drinks add extra, empty calories to your overall daily calorie intake, they very rarely replace any calories that would be taken in food, and then to compound this, we often make poor food choices while drinking – greasy, fried, salty foods! One night of drinking can quickly double or triple your daily calorie intake and completely throw off your weight loss plans.
And of course aside from the fact that alcohol is high in calories, it is also a toxin! It can damage your liver, brain and digestive tract, and can lead to dangerous behaviour resulting in injuries and even death.
This is not to say that we’re trying to tell you to completely cut alcohol out of your life! It’s about making sensible choices and drinking in moderation.
The following slide show is a fun illustration of how much one drink is equivalent to in energy expenditure. Let’s say for the average person, that running one kilometre in 5 minutes will burn about 76 calories, and one minute of burpees will burn about 10 calories. This is what it will take you to burn up that extra energy from your drink…
And let’s face it – you’re probably not just going to stop at one drink. So however many drinks you might have across the space of the night (3,4,5, 6??) multiply these numbers by that much.
Also keep in mind the average person’s calorie needs for the day will be around 2000cal for a female and 2500cal for a male (this will vary greatly depending on body size, activity levels etc). Two long island iced teas =1568 that is almost the ENTIRE day worth of meals, drinks and snacks, in just TWO drinks!