How many of us know what a standard serve of alcohol is?
Do we actually know how much alcohol we are drinking?
New Years is a time of merriment, celebration and also perhaps having that extra glass (or bottle) of champagne. Unfortunately, the trouble is that most of us become a bit heavy handed when it comes to pouring a “standard drink”. Unfortunately a few of these oversized pours will start to tighten the waistband, may put you over the legal alcohol limit which is not only unsafe but can also lower your usual self control with eating. Do we actually know what a standard drink is?
What is a standard drink?
One standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. This is the same as:
- 285 mls of full strength beer
- 375 mls of mid strength beer
- 425 mls of low strength beer
- 100 mls of red wine
- 100 mls of white wine
- 100 mls of champagne
- 30 mls of spirits
- 375 ml bottle of ready to drink beverage
What is the best and worst for your waistline?
The calories come from a combination of the alcohol content, sugar content (of the alcohol itself or the sugar in any mixes with soft drink) and any additional fat content from the addition of ingredients such as coconut cream or flavourings.
The lowest calorie drinks are one nip of spirits with soda water, with 280 Kilojoules (kj) or 100 mls of wine with 285mls which has 285 kj. Have your spirit with ice so it takes longer to drink.
The highest calorie drink are pre-mixed alcoholic beverages and creamy cocktails. A 375 mls can of rum and cola has an astounding 1046kj. A Pino Colada can amount to as much as 1213 kj which is equivalent to a small meal. Think about that before you decide to knock off another one.
The best mixers are soda water or plain mineral water with mint leaves and a wedge of lemon or lime. Diet soft drinks do not have any kilojoules but they do contain artificial sweeteners and trigger an increase in insulin levels.
An alternative alcohol option
Mix a teaspoon of Angostura aromatic bitters to soda water with a lime wedge and you have a tasty drink with 50 kj, 0.6gms of alcohol and no sugar.
Why do we get a hangover when we drink too much?
The main reason why you wake up with a hangover is because you have consumed more alcohol than your body can metabolise in a set amount of time. The human body is only capable of breaking down 10 gms of alcohol per hour. If you drink more than this, your body does not have the ability to remove the alcohol from your system. Your blood alcohol content stays high and concentrated as your kidneys keep removing water from your body. This results in you become intoxicated and dehydrated causing headaches, nausea, vomiting and tremors.
What should you do?
It is wonderful to celebrate the new year with friends and family. But the key is to pace yourself. Ensure that your eat at the same time as you drinks to delay stomach emptying, drink a glass of water between drinks and ensure you get plenty of sleep. If you have already “sinned”, get back on the horse and make your next event a better one. Infact, whatever you did weight and health wise in 2018, make sure you do it better in 2019.
Happy New Year from the team at Medical and Mind Weight Loss
Written by Dr Marlene Tham