The holiday season is well and truly upon us and for many of us that means excessive alcohol consumption and an equal amount of bad hangovers. But as we’re sipping on our fourth mojito of the night do we ever stop to consider the effect of excessive alcohol on our bodies?
Our favourite drinks might look innocent enough, but nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin reminds us that those tasty alcoholic beverages are in fact undoing all the hard work we’ve put in to looking good this summer.
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‘Breaking down your average drinks into calories is an excellent way to make you understand just how many calories you are drinking,’ she said.
‘The average 120ml glass of red wine contains 80 calories, white wine contains 75 calories, Toomey’s dry 146 calories per 375ml and rum and coke has 260 calories per 375ml.
‘This means that if you were to drink two beers, one glass of red wine and a rum and coke in a night, you could consume a whopping 632 calories, which would take approximately 45 minutes to run off.’
And if the calorie count isn’t enough to make you rethink your regular after-work glass of wine, Zoe said that drinking can put us at a higher risk of many diseases, including cancer.
‘Prolonged consumption, which is drinking every night, will lead to cellular changes in the liver, heart, brain and muscles, and results in cirrhosis, pancreatitis, irregular heartbeats, stroke and malnutrition. Even moderate drinkers have a higher risk of oral cancer, and women have a higher risk of breast cancer,’ she said.
Although all this information may seem off-putting, you can still enjoy a few drinks without putting your health at risk – just make sure you are practicing low-risk drinking and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
‘Low risk drinking is defined as four standard drinks for a man and two standard drinks for a woman per day, with at least two alcohol free days,’ Zoe said.
Zoe’s sensible drinking tips:
1. Drink a litre of water before you go out, to ward off dehydration. Dehydration is responsible for many hangover symptoms, including headaches, lethargy and the horrible feeling of the midnight dry mouth.
2. Mix spirits with tomato juice and eat protein-rich nuts to slow the absorption of alcohol. Aim to eat unroasted and unsalted nuts.
3. Avoid fizzy mixers as the carbon dioxide can speed up alcohol absorption.
4. Avoid mixing drinks and stick to either red or white wine. Take supplements such as Milk Thistle, B-complex, chromium and Omega-3 as they can help cure and prevent the side effects that alcohol can cause by supporting the liver.
‘All alcoholic drinks have an effect on the bodies’ blood sugar levels (BSL) causing them to rise very quickly and then fall,’ advises Zoe.
‘This will have an effect on your energy level and will strip the brain of its main energy source sugar, causing a change in mood for example an aggressive drunk.’
So this Christmas season, why not serve up some alcohol-free mocktails at your festive soiree. They’re just as delicious – so your friends won’t complain – but they’ll be thanking you when they’re feeling fresh as a daisy the next morning. (Plus there will be no arguing over who’s the designated driver!)
Smooze Fruit Ice, available from the dessert section at supermarkets, have been kind enough to share with us their favourite mocktail recipe. Whether you have pregnant or non-drinking friends coming round or you just want to stay healthy this holiday season, serve up a Smooze Fruit Mocktail to ensure no one misses out on a sense of indulgence as the weather heats up – just add a novelty umbrella!
Smooze Fruit Mocktail Recipe (Serves 1)
1 x frozen Pineapple + Coconut Smooze Fruit Ice
2 x passionfruit
1 x shot sugar syrup (recipe below)
1 x handful ice, crushed
Sugar syrup: Dissolve 3 tbsp brown sugar in a little water to make a liquid of syrup consistency.
– Place all ingredients except passionfruit in a blender and blend
– Add passionfruit and put on lowest blender setting to mix in seeds without damage
– Pour into a tall glass and top with a piece of pineapple, an umbrella and curly straw