Keep on top of diets this Christmas by managing the consumption of alcoholic drinks, which contain over the daily recommended sugar intake.
With the sugar awareness week approaching in January 2017, this article looks into the sugar and calorie intake of alcoholic beverages consumed by adults over the festive season.
Jamie Oliver claims that alcohol is bad for your balanced diet, but, many people are unaware of how much sugar is actually used in alcoholic beverages.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK recommends that adults should not exceed seven tea spoons of sugar per day.
To put this into perspective, a can of Coca-Cola contains 35g of sugar in one 330ml can. This works out at 7 teaspoons. Alternatively, in one 500ml serving of Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime cider contains 6 teaspoons of sugar, which is almost equivalent to the daily recommended intake.
Sharon McEllin, aged 47, from Warrington classes her self as an average wine drinker and approximately consumes one bottle a week said: “Kopparberg is one of my favourite drinks, I was shocked to hear how much sugar was in just one bottle!”
Jessica Singleton was previously a Slimming World agent in Cheshire, who advised Slimming World customers on dieting. She said: “Alcohol and our increasing appetites for it, especially women, are a major factor in the UK’s increasing weight!
“I continuously advice people to have less and very little amounts of alcoholic beverages when dieting.
“So many people are unaware of how much sugar is actually used in alcoholic drinks, especially cocktails. Even wine contains more sugar than people expect.”
Drink Aware England, advises that no more than 14 units of alcohol should be consumed in one week. This is equivalent to approximately six 175ml glasses of wine and this works out as one and a half bottles of wine. Taking this data into account, 14 units of wine is approximately equivalent to 4.2 teaspoons of sugar.
The NHS said: “The average wine drinker in England takes in around 2,000kcal from alcohol every month.”
One kcal is equivalent to 1000 calories, 175ml of wine contains 159 calories and ¼ of a teaspoon of sugar. Following on from the NHS’s fact, the average wine drinker therefore consumes 3144.65 teaspoons of sugar per month, just from wine.
The Student Room is a website designed for students; to give advice, conduct series and answer student’s questions. They conducted a survey regarding how many units of alcohol a person consumes on a night out. The survey revealed that the average person consumes 10-15 units of alcohol on one single night out.
If a person consistently drank gin and tonics’ during a night out, then they would be well over their daily sugar intake. On average, a 100ml serving of tonic contains 2.5 teaspoons of sugar. Gin alone, however, contains no sugar. If a person drank 14 units’ worth of gin and tonic, then their intake would reach 35 teaspoons of sugar. If this was consumed in a single night, then the person will have exceeded four times their daily recommended intake.
Alice Foster, aged 19 and a student at Manchester Metropolitan University said: “On a night out, I mainly drink double vodka and coke and I have about seven glasses of it.”
This works out at 14 units.
A regular sized glass contains 354ml. 354ml of coke contains 9.3 tea spoons of sugar. Therefore, on one night out, student Alice Foster, consumes 65.1 tea spoons of sugar (from drinking seven glasses of double vodka and coke).
Alice Foster replied saying: “I can not believe that! It seems so bad, but surely people drink even more than that?
I’m going to drink diet coke on my next night out, but even that probably still contains a lot of sugar!”
Eleanor O’Rourke, a student at the University of Plymouth, studying Human Nutrition said: “Mixing alcohol with fizzy drinks or juice is not a good option. It is basically a sugar bomb.
Drinking spirits neat avoids the sugar aspect. Alternatively, a beverage containing low levels of sugar is vodka, lime (fruit) and soda water. This gives a fruity, but slightly sour taste with less than half of one tea spoon of sugar in one serving.”
The NHS recommends to cut down on sugar, you should: have a few alcohol-free days each week, use sugar free mixers and swap every other drink for a water or sugar free soft drink.
For more information visit the NHS website.
By Chloe Dawson.