How many calories are in your drink?

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

How many calories does the average drink have?

One standard drink is equivalent to 500kJ in energy. The following is the portion size for one alcohol unit:

• 1 flute of champagne

• 340ml Beer or cider

• 1 medium glass dry red or white wine (150ml)

• 2 white wine spritzers

• 2 single tots (30ml) of tequila, brandy, gin, vodka or whiskey

Which is better between red wine and white?

Per glass, both red wine and white wine have the same number of kilojoules. The difference is that red is rich in antioxidants from the red grape skins used to make it.  Antioxidants are molecules that neutralise free radicals, making them more stable and less destructive. Thus, a diet high in antioxidants is a great way to help prevent cell damage and inflammation.

Vodka vs whiskey – which is better between the two? 

The difference is in the mixers that are used with either of the two spirits. For example, whiskey will usually be mixed with water (if at all), yet vodka could be mixed with an energy drink. In this instance, the way you drink the vodka means it’s not as good.

So the dashes or mixers are the problem?

Absolutely! Mixes can add up to eight teaspoons of sugar per drink, on top of the kilojoules that come from the alcohol itself. Rather use lower kilojoule or kilojoule-free mixes like sugar-free fizzy drinks, sparkling water, soda water or mineral water to mix or extend drinks when required. Tonic water is not suitable for use on a weight-reducing diet.

What about cocktails?

Cocktails are kilojoule bombs! They include a lot of alcohol which in itself makes the drink high in energy, as well as added sugar, syrups and mixers like orange juice, fruit juice, or sugary fizzy drinks. I advise patients to avoid these like the plague and rather stick to simple alcoholic drinks like red wine or beer.

Tips on how alcohol consumption can be reduced:

• Alternate your alcoholic drinks with a sugar-free low kilojoule, non-alcoholic drink such as sugar-free frizzy drinks with lemon.

• Add soda water to alcoholic beverages such as wine to decrease the alcohol and kilojoule content.

• Reduce volumes of alcohol by using smaller glasses an adding lots of ice.

• Drink slowly to reduce the number of drinks you consume per occasion.


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