Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's think about: controlling your alcohol intake


I know it’s the wrong time of year to be addressing the amount of alcohol many of us are imbibing – hello, Christmas parties! – and I love a glass of bubbles as much as the next woman, but we can all do with reminding about how it can have an effect on both your health and your waistline.
One of my marvellous trainers, Monique Jackson recently discussed with me the problem that many women have: your alcohol intake may be what is standing between you reaching your weight loss goals. “Alcohol provides 27kj per gram which makes it almost as energy dense as fat at 37kj per gram,” she explained, which is scary stuff! This means alcohol can be a significant contributor to you daily energy intake while providing few valuable micronutrients.
Then add up that a standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol:
A 330ml can of 4% beer
A 100ml glass of wine
A 30ml spirit shot
… and that fact that for many of us, an average pour is a LOT larger than a standard drink!
She advises that if you want to address your alcohol intake and the effect it is having on your waistline, try some of the following:
* Aim to cut out drinking during the working week and save it for weekends only. The best way to achieve this is not to have any wine in the house or that is visible.
* Drink a low kilojoule, non-alcoholic beverage out of a wine glass during the week. Herbal teas that have been chilled in the fridge are the best option. Brew 4-5 teabags of herbal tea and pour into a water jug (or a washed out empty wine bottle for extreme effect!), place in the fridge and use that evening.
* The best replacement for white wine is green tea, chamomile and peppermint, and for red wine any of the dark fruit and berry herbal teas (the Twinings cranberry, raspberry and elderflower is a goodie!).
* Choose drinks with a lower alcohol content and avoid sugary mixers (go for tonic and soda waters).
And if you’re at a very jolly Christmas party then try my trick – alternating every alcoholic drink with a glass of sparkling water or watered down juice. Your waistline will thank you for it, and the next day, so will your head!

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