We know alcohol isn’t great, but with party season upon us, it’s difficult to cut back. Here’s what should you be drinking, if you choose to drink at all.

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When it comes to fat content, alcohol actually contains very little – if any – fat. Believe it or not, alcohol is actually a source of energy and, to a certain degree, is a hidden macronutrient. But, as it poses little-to-no nutritional value, it’s not something we often talk about.

Where fat comes to play is when we start to look at the energy balance (kilojoule or calories) or energy in, verses energy out. When more energy is consumed than your body is able to burn off, alcohol converts into fat, which makes it harder to manage weight.

With that in mind, these are the top options for weight management – in moderation, of course. And remember, always drink responsibly.

Red wine or white wine?

Dry white wine and red wine with 12 per cent alcohol both provide 510 calories in a bottle; basically equivalent to a meal. One small glass of 120mL has only 82 calories, however in my experience, most individuals pour much more than this.

Sweet white wine is much higher in calories, coming in at 750 calories for a bottle, or 120 calories in a small glass.

Avoid ordering a whole bottle of wine and opt for a small glass of a dry white with dinner.

RELATED: Soft drink vs. alcohol: Which is actually worse for your health?

Cider or beer?

I’ve spoken before about the differences between cider and beer, however we know that beer is still high in calories. So if you choose to drink beer, what is a good choice? Full strength beer has around 72 calories in a 200mL glass, a lite beer only has 50, and a low carb option has around 60 calories. While the low carb beer has the lowest carbohydrates, the light beer is lower calories, lower in alcohol, and has less than 3 grams of carbohydrate more than the average low carb beer in a 200mL glass – so, that would be my choice.

Vodka soda or gin and tonic?

It’s common for people to think that gin and tonic is a ‘healthy choice’, however when we break it down we might find some hard truths. When we look at the sugar content of tonic water, a standard 100mL contains 9g of sugar (that’s 9 per cent sugar or 1.5 teaspoons, just from 100mL of tonic!).

Whether you choose vodka or gin (or scotch), swapping the soft drink for soda water is the best choice. And ask for a tall glass, so you get more soda water, which helps delay the next drink, and improve hydration.

Chloe McLeod is an accredited practicing dietitian. For more from Chloe, head here.

If you are having a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.

November 23, 201610:26am

nutrition | body+soul

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