Thursday, 26 April 2012

Partying Tonight? Don't Read Till Sunday!

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I think that I am in love with cocktails with an unprecedented appreciation towards its exceptional ability to relax and delight on a Friday night out. 

To most, cocktails are colourful, delicious, powerful and oh so simply magical.  One sip and you could be transformed to paradise, strawberry fields, Jamaica or even into the most glamorous in the room.  You would be mad to even dream of rationing your drinks, right?

The Department of Health advice up to 3 to 4 units (24-32g) of alcohol for men and up to 2 to 3 units (16-24g) of alcohol per day for women.  They report no significant health risks associated with drinking up to this amount of alcohol per day.

Great, but exactly how many units of alcohol and calories are there in say, a caipirinha; one of my favourites!  I am not entirely sure, but according to one site, if there is at least one shot of cacha├ža, that’s 165 calories per cocktail if you assume that there are 55 calories in every 10ml of alcohol.  Any extra sugar is extra of course.

Don’t you love a sugar rush after a hard week in the office?  Mix it with alcohol and you are probably in heaven.  What you may have not realised during these countless moments of bliss is that alcohol oozes calories. 

Did you know that alcohol after fat is the most energy dense?  Fat provides a generous 9 calories per gram.  Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram whilst carbs and protein will give you about 4 calories per gram.

Worse, alcohol also can have an aperitif effect, stimulating your appetite.  After a drink or two, you’ll probably suddenly remember that you haven’t eaten dinner and before you even have the time to say ‘fat belly’; there’s the waiter, smiling and cooing over you, insisting that you try their delicious selection of breads and dips.  “Or why not choose more of our bar snacks?” he offers with another devilish smile.  And you give in whilst you order a Bellini.

Metabolism of Alcohol

Alcohol is also metabolised differently to fat, carbs and protein.  The body has no capacity to store alcohol, thus it is broken down immediately, especially as it has toxic properties.  This takes place in the liver.  These empty calories when consumed in large amounts (i.e. binge drinking), may also interfere with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

Show me the calories!

Lager provides the least calories at 29 calories per 100ml.  This is followed closely by Guinness at 30 calories per 100ml while cider provides 36 calories per 100ml.  Red wine contributes 68 calories and white 74 calories per 100ml.  Spirits are energy dense at 207 calories per 100ml whilst creamy liquers top the list off at 325 calories per 100ml.

If you’re head is spinning from all the numbers, let’s try to put this into perspective. 

How many units of alcohol?

½ pint of standard strength beer, lager and cider is 1 unit
Bottle or 1L of cider has 8 units!
125ml glass (small) has 1 unit
175ml (large glass) of wine has 2 units
1 pub measure of spirit has 1 unit

Tips to sensible eating & drinking

Be prepared and eat a light snack before you go out.  This will prevent you from over-eating from the aperitif effect of alcohol.  Suggestions – share a sandwich with a girlfriend whilst you get ready for a night out.

Instead of ordering a drink on an empty stomach, start your evening with a mocktail or sparkling water.

Order a soft drink or water in between every alcoholic beverage.  This will help you stay hydrated, aware and may prevent any embarrassing moments later.

Choose single over double shots (it is after all....double the calories otherwise).

Drink a glass of red wine with your main meal, then choose dessert or alcohol, but not both towards the end of your evening.

Instead of spending the night seated at your table, get on that dance floor and burn the extra calories whilst having the time of your life.

Celebrating a very special occasion like your birthday or anniversary?  Then enjoy yourself you party animal and try to apply at least one of the saver tips that I’ve suggested above. 

Do remember to slot in an extra session of exercise at the gym this week if you plan to keep your heart ticking healthy and your body moving lean like a panther.

Happy Friday!

Please do post any comments below. I love receiving them and always read all of your comments.

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