Health: Limit your alcohol intake to lose pounds

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If you enjoy a glass of wine or two to help you wind down, think before you drink, says Kirsty Walton of KW Fitness.

You could be overloading on empty calories that have no nutritional value.

Two large glasses of wine not only puts us over the recommended daily limit for regular alcohol consumption but provides women with 20 per cent of our recommended daily calorie intake – a staggering 370kcal.

According to the Royal Society for Public Health, among those adults who drink, an estimated 10 per cent of their daily calorie intake comes from alcohol.

Experts are warning that drinker’s ignorance of the calorie content of alcohol and the increasing trend to serve large glasses of wine are contributing to Britain’s obesity crisis.

A recent study by America’s Harvard University found that four fifths of adults questioned were unaware of the calorie content of common drinks and most didn’t realise that alcohol contributed to the total calories they consumed.

Wine, beer, cider and spirits are manufactured using natural starch and sugar. Fermentation, and distillation for certain drinks, produces the alcohol content which is why alcohol is laden with calories – 7kcal a gram, almost as much as a gram of pure fat.

A pint of cider can contain around five teaspoons of sugar. According to the NHS, alcoholic drinks account for 11 per cent of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar.

And there’s more bad news. If you exercise regularly, alcohol reduces your performance in the gym so you burn fewer calories during a workout.

In addition to having to deal with the extra calories, because your body can’t store alcohol, it tries to get rid of it quickly and prioritises metabolising alcohol over burning fat and carbs and absorbing essential nutrients.

The Government’s low risk guidelines for alcohol states that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units per day and for women, it’s 2-3 units per day. Here are some top tips to help you drink smart.

Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to keep you hydrated; switch to low alcohol drinks to help manage your sugar consumption; go for diet-friendly alcoholic drinks like prosecco instead of wine as it’s lower in calories; stick to the daily recommended units; don’t drink on an empty stomach as you’re more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks; pace yourself - take small sips; avoid binge drinking – don’t save up your units and splurge at the weekend; add a splash of soda to white wine to help the units last longer; if you use mixers with spirits, always go for diet / low calorie versions; use online tools or apps to keep you on track - try Drinkaware.

For information about KW Fitness, contact Kirsty on 07802 202389 or 0113 2825224.

ALCOHOL FACTS

Standard glass of wine (126kcal) = Cadbury’s Hero bar.

A pint of five per cent strength beer (215kcal) = 1 packet of McCoy’s salted crisps

A bottle (330ml) of five per cent alcopop (237kcal) = 1 Krispy Kreme doughnut

One double Gordon’s gin (104kcal) = a two finger KitKat

A standard glass of prosecco (80kcal) = cup of cappuccino coffee

A glass of Baileys Irish Cream (37ml) (130kcal) = a McDonald’s hash brown

PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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