Many of us start the New Year pledging to begin a heathier lifestyle with resolutions and good intentions to cut back on snacks, sweets and carbs.

alcoholSo we cut out the crisps, reduce our portion size and eat more salads in January than we do the rest of the year put together!

But did you know that a glass of wine can actually contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate? Or that a pint of beer is equivalent to a packet of crisps? Alcohol is one of our worst enemies when it comes to weight loss – with just two large glasses of white wine, 20 per cent of the recommended daily calorie intake for women has gone.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just skip a meal to save your calories for drinks later! At seven calories per gram, alcohol is closer to fat than to carbohydrate or protein in caloric content. And, calories from alcohol are also often referred to as ’empty calories’, because they don’t contain any nutritional value.

Alcohol will  also often lead you to more unhealthy eating choices – who hasn’t snacked on chips or peanuts (or lots more) after a few drinks!

Some scientists have suggested that alcohol is guilty of slowing the entire fat burning process and that drinking can make it more difficult to digest food and absorb vital nutrients because alcohol reduces the amount of digestive enzymes which the pancreas produces to help us to break down the fats and carbohydrates we eat.

Under new alcohol guidelines, men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week – that’s about six pints of 4% beer or six glasses of 13% wine.

If you’re taking part in dry January, that’s great – but don’t deny yourself a fine glass of wine every now and then! Why not go for smaller sizes? Or try lower calorie drinks – spirits, such as vodka and gin, with a sugarless mixer, such as diet soda or tonic water.

Try a free alcohol unit and alcohol calorie counter to work out what your favourite tipple contains. Here’s a few examples:

  • Vodka and Slimline Tonic – 55 calories
  • A standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine – 126 calories
  • 50ml glass of Baileys – 164 calories
  • Pint of beer – 180 calories
  • Bottle of light beer – 95 calories