There’s a TV program in the UK called ‘Secret Eaters’. The premise is simple. TV cameras follow people who don’t understand why they’re putting on weight or struggling to lose weight despite regularly exercising, and look for ways in which these people are accidentally consuming extra calories. Almost always they discover they’re eating far more snacks than they realise, but quite often there’s another factor behind their lack of weight loss.
Did you know two glasses of wine contain the same amount of calories as an 80g (3oz) slice of cheesecake? Or that at least one doctor writing in the British medical journal has recommended that alcoholic drinks should list their calorie as well as alcohol content? You see, in 2011 the European Union ruled that packaged foods have to be labelled with their ingredients and nutritional information, including energy content, aka calories. But drinks that contain more than 1.2% alcohol by volume are exempt; manufacturers don’t have to provide this information, so consumers don’t know what’s in them.
Alcoholic drinks often contain little or no nutritional value, so they contribute only ’empty calories’ to your diet. Furthermore, alcohol contains approximately 7 calories per gram, compared to 9 calories per gram in fat or 4 calories per gram in protein.
Of course, nobody’s suggesting we all need to give up alcohol entirely, unless we’re doing it by choice. But as with everything, make certain that you enjoy a glass of wine or beer in moderation, and above all, don’t skip meals in order to ‘save’ calories so that you can drink more alcohol.