1. Alcohol contains 29kJ of energy per gram.
This is second only to fat which contains 37kJ of energy per gram. When you compare this to water at 0kJ, fibre 13kJ, protein 17kJ and carbohydrate 16kJ you can see how every gram of alcohol and fat count for a lot more when it comes to weight gain.
2. Liquid kilojoules add up quickly.
Here is the energy levels of some commone alcoholic drinks and one soft drink:
Nip of vodka: 282kJ
A can of vodka soda (UDL): 885kJ
Nip of rum: 281kJ
Rum and Coke (Bundaberg): 1038kJ
Gin and Tonic: 460kJ
160mL Small glass of Red wine: 456kJ
160mL Small glass of champagne: 496kJ
570mL Stubbie of beer: 570kJ
345mL Bottle of Cider (sweet): 762kJ
375mL Can of coke (no aocohol): 675kJ
The average adult has a daily metabolic rate of 8700kJ. If you do the maths you can see how you can easily consume a large portion of this through alcohol and put yourself in a position to gain weight. For example, let’s say that you attend a Christmas Cocktail party after work. You consume 2 beers before dinner and then have another beer after dinner before finishing the night with a rum and coke. Now this may not be a standard night out for many people but many people will consume this amount or more at an end of year function. This sample of just 3 beers and one rum and coke equals approximately 2748kJ. That’s a big chunk of your daily kilojoule intake in liquid form and it doesn’t leave much room to indulge in your favourite foods at these special occasions. Remember also that for many people that this is not a lot of alcohol. If these drinks were consumed across a 6 hour period most people would not deem themselves ‘drunk’ and would potentially still be under the legal limit of .05.
3. Consuming less energy than you expend is the only way to lose weight.
To lose 1kg of fat takes a lot of work. 1kg of fat is 1000g x 37kJ = 37000kJ. That’s about 4 days of FASTING for an average adult and it’s only about 80 glasses of wine to put it back on. So even if you are someone who drinks two glasses per night, consider that every 40days you are adding about a kilogram to your weight. For those keeping up with all of this maths, that’s about 9kgs of weight per year because of a ‘healthy’ 2 glass habit. It is estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that the average Australian over the age of 15 consumes a little more than 2 standard drinks per day.
4. It takes a lot of exercise to offset alcohol consumption.
Consider that jogging for 30mins burns about 1569kJ and walking for 30mins burns 506kJ. Every glass of alcohol is costing you about 30mins of exercise at a walking pace. That’s a pretty big debt to pay off before you start actually burning up enough energy to lose weight.
5. It’s not so much what you put in, but what you’re missing out on.
Even if you still think that managing your alcohol intake is possible based on these numbers, you should seriously consider the cost of alcohol consumption on your intake of ESSENTIAL nutrients. Every day there are numerous nutrients that your body requires for normal function. If they are not replenished regularly, this leads to dysfunction. Even these ESSENTIAL nutrients have a kilojoule cost. Why would you waste valuable kilojoules on a non-essential nutrient like alcohol when your body requires many other more important nutrients?
6. Health is more than just weight management.
Health is not just about weight loss. It’s about being disease-free and having proper function. Consuming alcohol INCREASES your risk of death from ALL CASUES in proportion to the amount you drink for people under the age of 45. For over 45s there is a slight protective effect for 1-2 standard drinks and then the risk increases again. If you are concerned about your health, no alcohol is the safest option for your weight and your health.