For everyone, eating a healthy balanced diet is really important. This means having a diet of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The food we eat gives us energy and helps our body to function.
When you eat, our bodies break down the food from the mouth to the stomach and intestines, with some help from the pancreas. From the intestines, nutrients from digested food are absorbed into the blood and carried to the liver where they can be stored or used.
Some people describe alcohol of having ‘empty calories’. This means that although alcoholic drinks are high in calories, they do not offer any nutritional benefit. Not only can alcohol itself be high in calories, the things people mix them with so they taste nicer (juices, syrups, mixers) can contain lots of calories too.
Here are some examples of some of the calories in popular drinks and the foods that contain that amount of calories:
- Pint of Beer- 180 calories- like a slice of chocolate cake
- Large rose wine (250mls)- 198 calories like 3 Fish Fingers
- Double vodka and tonic- 165 calories- 1 large donut
- Pina Colada- 644 calories like a Big Mac
- Alcopop- 237 calories like a slice of pizza
If you want to look at the calories in your favourite drink, try using this drink calorie calculator.
Please go to our drinks calculator page for more information: http://www.thinkalcohol.com/drinks-calculator
When some people drink, they get a lot get the desire to eat foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, either when they are drinking or the day after when they are hungover the next day. When you eat more calories than your body needs, and when you do not eat enough healthy foods, there can be an increase of weight gain. Weight gain can lead to obesity, which then can contribute to increase risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke.
Others who drink lots tend to eat less. This means that their bodies are not getting enough carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals so they can become very malnourished. Alcohol does provide calories, but the body processes and uses the energy from alcohol differently. Alcohol gets digested in a different way to food. The body treats alcohol as fat, so it gets directly absorbed into the blood stream.
Having a lifestyle where you drink a lot of alcohol can lead to serious health conditions like being malnourished, having vitamin deficiencies (lacking in the vitamins our bodies need to grow, heal and function), liver disease, pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia (a decrease in blood sugar that can cause the brain and other body tissue to be deprived of the glucose needed to function) or brain damage.
Some people think that exercising excessively or cutting down on what you eat can mean that you can drink more calories. But this will continue to have a negative effect on your mental health and physical body. Limiting your alcohol is a better way to do this.