Diet therapy

Alcohol and weight

Alcohol is seemingly the most respectable drug within the New Zealand social scene but could our consumption be contributing to New Zealander’s growing problem of obesity?

Could the odd social tipple be placing you at risk from obesity which can lead on to other health problems such as heart disease and some forms of cancer? Here are some facts for you to consider.

Heavy drinking

In women this is the consumption of 14 standard drinks in one week, for men is 21 standard drinks in the same time period.

How much of a drink is actually a ‘standard serve’?

10 grams of alcohol constitutes one unit or standard drink, this is equivalent to:

  • 1 small port 160 kcal/672 kj
  • 300 ml beer 172 kcal/722 kj
  • 1 nip gin 105 kcal/441 kj
  • 1 glass wine (104ml) 85 kcal/357 kj
  • 50ml dry sherry 75 kcal/315 kj

How can alcohol affect our weight?

  • Alcohol does not produce satiety, in fact it may actually stimulate our appetite.
  • Alcohol lowers our inhibitions which may lead to over-consumption of high fat foods available in social situations.
  • Alcohol provides 7kcal of energy per ml; therefore it is relatively similar in energy density to fat (9kcal/ml). Would you drink as much if it were oil?
  • Alcohol is the first source of energy for fuel which displaces fat predominantly and to a lower extent carbohydrate and protein obtained from dietary means.
  • Therefore alcohol doesn’t directly turn into body fat, but it results in any dietary fat consumed during the same time period to be sent into storage. This contributes to the visceral (ab) fat that tends to accumulate as you age.

If you would like to assess the impact alcohol is having on your weight and nutrient intake then contact Lea for an appointment

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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