Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 27th 2015 Contents B42
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, November 27, 2015
Did you know that a glass of wine
can have the same calories as four
cookies? How about a pint of lager---
surprised to hear it s often the calorific
equivalent of a slice of pizza?
Alcoholic drinks are made by fer-
menting and distilling natural starch and
sugar. Calories from alcohol are "empty
calories," they have no nutritional value.
Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of
vitamins and minerals, but not usually
in amounts that make any significant
contribution to our diet. Being high in
sugar means alcohol contains lots of
calories---seven calories a gram in fact,
almost as many as pure fat!
The calories found in the average
alcoholic drink are quite concentrated
compared to many foods, and this actu-
ally causes one to inadvertently take in
many more calories than would other-
wise be consumed.
Alcohol is quite deceptive in that it
passes through the system rapidly, often
before the drinker is aware of the number
of drinks they have had. Alcoholic drinks
also contain calories from other sources,
which add to overall caloric intake. Cer-
tain cocktails, for example, contain fats.
Wine and beer both have high carbo-
Although the affects these various
calorie types have on the body are dif-
ferent---carbohydrates release insulin,
which can hasten fat storage, while fats
will be stored directly in the fat cells---
the overall result is added body fat.
An example of how many calories
can be easily consumed can be seen
with a small glass of wine: a five-ounce
glass of wine will typically contain 110
calories, 91 of which come from the
alcohol itself (13 grams), with the remain-
ing five grams coming from carbohy-
Drinking alcohol reduces the amount
of fat your body burns for energy. While
we can store nutrients, protein, carbo-
hydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can t
store alcohol. So our systems want to
get rid of it, and doing so takes priority.
All of the other processes that should
be taking place (including absorbing
nutrients and burning fat) are inter-
rupted. One way to avoid a "beer belly"
is simply to drink much less.
You can also go for "light" low-alcohol
alternatives, containing fewer calories.
Some light wines have under 80 calories
in a 175ml glass compared to 159 calories
in the same measure of 13 per cent ABV
wine. Another way to drink fewer calo-
ries is to opt for a low-calorie mixer
such as a Diet Coke or soda. Drinking
water or low-calorie soft drinks between
alcoholic drinks is not only a good way
to reduce your calorie intake but also
helps to reduce the amount of units
you re drinking.
in alcohol are
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
WHAT IS A UNIT OF ALCOHOL?
STRATEGIES FOR DRINKING LESS
alcohol are "empty
calories," they have
no nutritional value.
traces of vitamins
and minerals, but
not usually in
amounts that make
contribution to our
diet. Being high in
lots of calories---
seven calories a
gram in fact, almost
as many as pure
The UK government advises that
people should not regularly drink more
than three to four units of alcohol a day
for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of
four per cent beer) and two to three units
for women (equivalent to a 175 ml glass
of wine). "Regularly" means drinking
alcohol every day or most days of the
One unit is 10 ml of pure alcohol.
Because alcoholic drinks come in different
strengths and sizes, units are a way to tell
how strong your drink is. It takes an
average adult around an hour to process
this so that there's none left in their
bloodstream, although this varies from
person to person.
Alcohol content is also expressed as a
percentage of the whole drink. Look on a
bottle of wine or a can of lager and you'll
see either a percentage, followed by the
abbreviation "ABV" (alcohol by volume),
or sometimes just the word "vol." Wine
that says "13 ABV" on its label contains 13
per cent pure alcohol.
The alcoholic content in similar types of
drinks varies a lot. Some ales are 3.5 per
cent. But stronger continental lagers can
be five or six per cent ABV. Same goes for
wine where the ABV of stronger "new
world" wines from South America, South
Africa and Australia can exceed 14 per
cent ABV compared to the 13 per cent
ABV average of European wines.
This means that just one pint of strong
lager or a large glass of wine can contain
more than three units of alcohol---the
upper daily unit guideline limit if you are
woman. Large wine glasses hold 250ml,
which is one third of a bottle. It means
there can be nearly three units or more in
just one glass. So if you have just two or
three drinks, you could easily consume a
whole bottle of wine without even
realising. Smaller glasses are usually
If you're pouring your own drinks at home,
it's easy to drink more alcohol than you
realise. Here are some tips to help you keep
• If you drink wine at home, pour small
amounts into your glass.
• If you fill glasses to the rim, you'll drink
more than you realise. Opt for small 125ml
• Measure your spirits instead of free
• Try and pour your own drinks. If your
partner or your host is constantly topping
up your half-filled glass, it's hard to keep
track of how much alcohol you are drinking.
When you're out and about:
• Ask for a small glass of wine. A 125ml
glass is around one and a half units of
• Drink spritzers if you like wine, or pints of
shandy if you're a lager drinker. You'll still
get a large drink, but one that contains less
• Opt for half pints if you prefer higher
strength lager or try lower strength beer.
You really won't notice the difference.
• Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks.
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