With the silly season approaching, many clients are expressing concern over whether they will be able to maintain their diet or weight loss, and anyone can see why! December is the time for gatherings, get-togethers, family events, Christmas parties and weekend BBQs, complete with delicious food and drinks. Most people are able to control their eating by distancing themselves from the snack table, ordering smaller meals or using mindful eating, but we often forget the impact that alcohol has on our calorie intake.
Alcohol is, in its most basic form: a sugar, meaning that it falls into the carbohydrate category alongside bread, rice, fruit and soft-drink. The kind of alcohol we consume varies greatly in its calorie content, based on the ingredients and processing methods, not to mention how much we have and what we serve it with.
The information below shows the energy content of a range of popular alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol Amount Calories Kilojoules
- Beer, VB or similar 375ml 143 600
- Beer, low alcohol 375ml 90 370
- Champagne 120ml (1 glass) 77 325
- Cider, apple, dry 375ml 160 670
- Cider, apple, sweet 375ml 195 820
- Spirits, gin 30ml 62 260
- Spirits, rum 30ml 63 265
- Spirits, vodka 30ml 63 265
- Wine, Red 120ml 82 340
- Wine, White 120ml 80 340
Soft Drink/Mixers Amount Calories Kilojoules
- Coca-Cola, regular 375ml 150 630
- Diet Coke 375ml 1 5
- Dry Ginger ale 375ml 124 520
- Lemonade, regular 375ml 160 670
- Tonic Water 250ml 82 345
- Mineral / Soda Water 250ml 0 1
As we can see above, even small changes in our alcohol choices can make a big difference to our overall calorie intake. As a Dietitian I don’t recommend drinking alcohol, but if you choose to, try not to consume more than 2 standard drinks at a time and always give yourself at least 2 alcohol free days per week to protect your liver.
Some additional tips for reducing liquid calorie intake over the silly season include:
- Choose a low alcohol or low carb beer – saves 50 calories (200+kj) per drink.
- Switch to a dry cider instead of a sweet cider – saves 35 calories (150kj) per bottle.
- Try soda water in your G&T instead of tonic water – saves 82 Calories (345kj) per drink.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with a non-alcoholic drink such as mineral water or diet soft drink.
- Choose single drinks instead of cocktails – save up to 200 calories (800kj).
- Limit your intake. A bottle of white wine contributes 510 calories (2130kj), while a 6-pack of beer contributes a whopping 858 calories (3600kj), or almost half of a regular adult’s recommended daily energy intake.