Surviving the Party Season – Part 2

Every year as party season comes around, I find I am spending more time talking about alcohol consumption and the health impacts it has. See my previous article where I talk about the health impacts of drinking alcohol. Today, we’re talking about the caloric increase that occurs as a result of drinking alcohol.

TO HELP PUT THE CALORIES FROM ALCOHOL INTO PERSPECTIVE, HERE’S A GUIDE OF HOW MUCH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IT WOULD TAKE TO BURN OFF SOME COMMON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS*.

The below exercise needs are approximate and based on a 70kg person:

1 MEDIUM GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE – 104CAL

  • 12 minutes Cycling
  • 11 minutes Dancing
  • 27 minutes Vacuuming

1 BOTTLE CHAMPAGNE – 520CAL

  • 1 hour 14 minutes Swimming (leisurely)
  • 1 hour 29 minutes Weight training
  • 50 minutes Medium running

1 SCHOONER BEER – 114CAL

  • 20 minutes Golf
  • 20 minutes Weight training
  • 14 minutes Jogging

PREMIXED VODKA DRINK – 255 CAL

  • 46 minutes Cricket
  • 27 minutes Tennis (singles)
  • 19 minutes Fast running

WINE, 1 MEDIUM GLASS – 110CAL

  • 15 minutes Basketball
  • 38 minutes Hatha Yoga
  • 27 minutes Walking

WINE, 1 BOTTLE – 549CAL

  • 1 hour 5 minutes Aerobics
  • 40 minutes Fast running
  • 4 hours 21 minutes Ironing

SCOTCH AND COKE – 268 CAL

  • 30 minutes Dancing
  • 33 minutes Jogging
  • 1 hour 1 minute Gardening

ESPRESSO MARTINI – 285 CAL

  • 1 hour 21 minutes Bowls
  • 31 minutes Dancing
  • 35 minutes Jogging

VODKA SODA – 61 CAL

  • 9 minutes Swimming (leisurely)
  • 6 minutes Medium running
  • 10 minutes Lawn mowing

It is important to remember that the above numbers are estimations.

Calories burnt can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including:

  • How hard you’re working in your training session
  • Your body size
  • Muscle mass
  • How new to the activity you are.

Still, whilst some of the numbers may seem small to start with (a 6-minute run to burn off your vodka?), it wouldn’t be unusual for more than one to be consumed for many individuals. So whilst that hour of aerobic style exercise to burn off said bottle of wine may sound easy to manage if your favourite burger is thrown in (approximately 500 Cal), suddenly an extra hour of that activity is thrown in, plus you likely have a cracking headache… and (nearly) an extra day (or half day, depending on your body size) of calories has appeared.

Another way to look at alcohol consumption is in the realms of food

100 calories are equal to 4 squares of chocolate or 20 crisps, a medium banana, or 1 vodka and cola. 200calories will give you 16 fries or 500mL bottle cola, whilst 300 calories are enough for a croissant, 2 slices of cheese and tomato pizza or a full cream milk hot chocolate.

Whilst I am all for people having a great time, excessive alcohol consumption, along with the unnecessary calories that are added, being mindful of the health impacts of overindulging is important.

*Physical activity requirements calculated from WCRF, and calories in alcohol from Easy Diet Diary.