- A pint of beer is about 250kcal
- A 175mL glass of red wine is about 140kcal (about 600kcal for a bottle)
- A 35mL measure of spirits is about 80kcal
Drinking and Food
What to do about it?
- Choose better drinks more of the time. If you’re keen to have say two bottles of wine on a night for a total of 1200kcal if you say swapped out one bottle for some gin and slimline tonic instead that would turn the 1200kcal into 900kcal which isn’t bad going. And then say you chose to have just two glasses of wine (half a bottle) and the rest gin and slimline tonic you’d bring it down to about 750kcal. Not too shabby. Generally then, a spirit plus a zero calorie mixer like diet sodas, soda water or slimline tonic (not regular tonic) is going to be your best option. Sugary mixed drinks or cocktails like ones with syrups, juices, sodas are the worst and beers and wines fall somewhere in between. My advice then would be to have whatever you like best for the first one or two and then switch to some of the better options.
- Be a little bit more prepared with your food for the next day. If you have something ready to go that you’ve made in advance you’ll more likely eat that instead of needing to order pizza from the foetal position. Or, you could have a healthier, lower kcal option in mind that you’ll get if you do want to get a takeaway. Make the conscious (if still possible) decision to avoid the big feed at the end of the night. You could bring a protein bar or small snack out with you to munch on to help curb the hunger and settle your blood sugars. Or if there are any shops open you could opt for a sandwich or yogurt or some other ready-to-go food that’s going to be a bit lighter.
- Adjust your eating earlier in the week and on the day. In an effort to ‘budget’ some kcals that will help buffer the few drinks you could opt to eat a bit lower carbs and/or fats during the week – swap out a serving of starchy carbs for more vegetables or pulses, use less oils or lower fat dairy products or choose some leaner proteins for a few more meals than you might usually to help account for the drinks later in the week. Then on the day itself fill up on lots of protein-rich foods and vegetables at the earlier meals so any food or drink later on that evening won’t have as much of an impact. Keep other liquid calories to a minimum.
- Avoid the hangover. Nobody wants to be hungover right? It sure enough will lead to poorer food choices and you’ll be way less likely to exercise so lets try and avoid that shall we? A large part of the ill effects of a hangover come from dehydration and the toxic byproducts of alcohol as it’s broken down by the liver. So it would make sense to support hydration and detoxification of alcohol. You can support hydration by consuming water regularly throughout the night and especially when going to bed. Add some electrolytes like a Nuun tablet to help replenish the minerals you lose from drinking, these are lost mostly by the increased urination that alcohol causes. And to help the liver break down the alcohol take supplemental N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) before and after you go drinking. This increases levels of glutathione in the body – the ‘master’ antioxidant which we need to help metabolise the alcohol. It gets quite depleted during this process so it makes sense to add in extra for support.