Summer is always celebrated in two ways – good food and good alcohol but these are not your best friends when it comes to weight loss. In fact, the average British person is expected to consume 3.5m calories in alcohol within their life time and many of these calories will come from drinking in pretty, summery beer gardens.
We all know alcohol is bad for us but there are often misconceptions on the calorie count and sugar content of our favourite beverages. To quell the myths, we’ve gathered all you need to know about these four, classic summer drinks to help you understand what you are really drinking.
Beer; it’s been enjoyed for centuries but what is actually in beer? The average pint of beer has 182 calories which equates to 2.3 units. It also roughly includes 13 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of protein, more than many other types of alcohol.
Exercise Equivalent: The average pint takes 14 minutes of running to burn off or 44 minutes of walking.
OnTrack Tip: Since beer contains yeast, it is prone to making people feel bloated, sluggish and hungry. If you want to drink beer, try limiting yourself to one half pint whenever you go out. Reducing the amount you drink will make it easier for you to gradually give up alcohol all together.
One Pimms and Lemonade 250ml can is 160 calories and this one small can also contain 20g of sugar and 20g of carbohydrate. Drinking any amount of alcohol, whether it’s a small can or a large pint, triggers a change to the D1 neurons in the brain. These neurons encourage “go” like behaviour, encouraging you to continue drinking and consume more sugar.
Exercise Equivalent: To burn off one can of Pimms you would have to go swimming for around 25 minutes.
OnTrack Tip: Why not remove the Pimms and have a refreshing fruit drink instead? Infuse water, or soda water, the night before with berries, cucumber and mint, and leave to chill overnight. Finish with ice and drink outside, safe in the knowledge that you are hydrating your body with the recommended two litres of water a day.
Fruit cider is a summer classic, but it contains the most calories of all drinks mentioned. At 398 calories and 4.9 of your weekly units, a pint of cider is the equivalent to eating three large slices of Dominoes chicken pizza. Just one pint of cider has around the same number of calories as eight Jaffa cake’s and three and a half packets of pickled onion Monster Munch.
Exercise Equivalent: To burn a pint of cider off you’d have to spend 40 minutes playing jump rope or go on a steep, hour hike.
OnTrack Tip: Often, people aren’t missing the taste of alcohol, they’re missing the highly addictive, refined sugar which lurks in most drinks. This is especially true in the case of cider (example: Bulmers Original contains five teaspoons of sugar per pint) so instead of drinking try eating a sweet fruit like pineapple. The natural sugar in the pineapple will satisfy your bodies sugar craving in a healthy, nutritional way.
A glass of wine contains roughly 159 calories, 2.3 units of your weekly allowance. This is put into perspective when considering many people’s breakfast is around the same number of calories. 40g of Weetabix or a buttered crumpet are both healthier than one glass of wine!
Exercise Equivalent: It is estimated that by running at a pace of eight miles an hour for 10 minutes, you would burn off one glass of wine. This is entirely dependent on your weight and exercise ability, meaning for larger and older adults you may have to run further for longer to get the same impact.
OnTrack Tip: Perspective is important when you’re thinking about your diet. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Reminding yourself that this one glass of wine is worse for you than your entire breakfast, and that it comes with side effects of nausea and dizziness, will help you to remain focused on your weight loss goals.
Alcohol will never be good for you, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Swap that cider for a fruity water and fill your wine glass with some refreshing fizzy water and a squeeze of lemon or lime. We promise you won’t regret it! For more information about alcohol consumption and its effects, check out Drink Aware which has a useful unit and calorie calculator.
Or for full support and advice on weight loss, why not check out our retreat programmes? They include fitness sessions, delicious healthy meals and a full program which is designed to help you achieve your goals.