Many people across the world drink, and you can almost argue it’s a right of passage for young people who are passing into the adult free world.
Alcohol is an accessible, socially acceptable and legal drug, and our culture presents it as sexy, cool and fun. However, what many alcohol drinkers don’t know or choose to ignore is that alcohol has more than one harmful effect on well-being, including mind, soul and body.
Drinking, for example, can disrupt the way your brain works or damage your heart if too much alcohol is consumed in one sitting.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also says it can increase your risk of developing some cancers, such as throat and breast. Alcohol can even make you sick beyond the typical hangover, compromising your immune system for over 24 hours after consumption.
One often overlooked area of harm drinking can cause, however, is weight gain, particularly around your midsection. Part of this is because calories from liquid don’t register with your brain in the same way as calories from food do.
As explained by Purdue University Professor of Foods and Nutrition to LiveScience, the calories in liquids simply don’t suppress your hunger or help you feel full like food does. This can lead to you taking in far more calories than you realize when you drink, and you’re not stopping because there is no “full” feeling to signal that action.
To put things into perspective and get you on the right path when it comes to drinking, here are seven scary examples of the average calorie equivalents between your favorite drinks and some common foods.
1 Bottle Of Red Wine = 3.5 Chocolate Chip Cookies
Unfortunately, you read that right. One typical bottle of red wine packs around the same number of calories as three and a half chocolate chip cookies. If you’re watching your weight and avoiding cookies altogether but having a bottle of red wine at every social function, you’re not doing yourself much good. Wine in general can be high in sugars, so if you’re going to drink it, try to limit yourself to one or two glasses at a time.
4 Vodka Cranberries = 18 California Rolls
You’re probably wondering right now if you could even eat 18 California rolls in one sitting, as that’s a lot of sushi. But if you’re having four vodka cranberries on your weekly night out with friends, you might as well be drowning yourself in sushi in terms of how many calories you’re taking in.
While you don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite mixed drink forever, you do have to be more reasonable about how much you drink in one evening or day. The calories from these types of drinks can sneak up on you fast, so don’t let yourself overindulge in a drink just because you like the taste or want to be a part of a certain atmosphere.
5 Shots Of Rum = 1.5 Pepperoni Pizza Slices
While five shots may seem like a bit much to some people, they can rack up surprisingly fast in a party situation. If you’ve ever been out and done a shot here and there, you’ve probably hit five or more in a single night. Five shots of rum works out to roughly one and a half pepperoni pizza slices, or about 362 calories, per Calorie Count.
A total of 362 calories can easily be half of what you lose in an average intense hour-long cardio session. That’s a steep total for just a “few” shots, so when you’re out, either avoid shots altogether or set yourself a strict limit, such as one or two, that you honor no matter what type of encouragement to do more you may get.
1 Bottle Of Champagne = 6 Whole Wheat Bread Slices
Champagne is a bubbly delight, but it’s best kept to one or two glasses on special occasions. If you have a bottle, you’ve just consumed the calorie equivalent to eating six whole wheat bread slices at once.
Just one glass of champagne has 78 calories, says Calorie King, which you would need about 20 minutes of moderate walking to burn off. A typical champagne bottle can pack five or more glasses, so keep this in mind when you drink it so you don’t overindulge and pay for it later in the form of added pounds.
8 Cans Of Beer = 3 Entire Cheeseburgers
You may be thinking there’s almost no occasion when you would eat three cheeseburgers in a row, but your body is already handling that equivalent if you’re drinking eight cans of beer on the weekends. Beer, possibly because of its lower alcohol content when compared to other drinks, is an often-overlooked source of weight gain despite the famous term, “beer belly” for weight carried around the midsection.
Beer and other forms of alcohol, per Calorie Secrets, can also disrupt your metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Once alcohol enters your body, it’s used as a primary fuel source because it can’t be stored. This means all the other food you eat gets stored, which can lead to added pounds.
Treat beer just like you would other forms of alcohol and unhealthy foods. Limit your consumption to three cans or less when you drink, and don’t be afraid to split up packs if you find you drink more when you have an entire six, eight or twelve pack with you.
6 Bottles Of Cider = 5 Chocolate-Covered Donuts
Alcoholic ciders have become quite popular, as a tasty alternative to beer. But ciders tend to pack sugar, both added and natural from the fruits included in them, so proceed with caution if you decide to drink them. If you wouldn’t dream of eating five chocolate-smothered donuts all at once, you shouldn’t be drinking a 6-pack of your favorite cider either.
4 Pina Coladas = 6 Chocolate Bars
Like ciders, fruity mixes such as Pina Coladas are brimming with sugar. It’s the sweet taste that masks the alcohol and makes these types of drinks popular, and that sweet tinge comes from ample amounts of sugar. If having six chocolate bars at once sounds like way too much sugar to you but you’re guilty of having four or five Pina Coladas or a similar drink at once, start placing limits on how many you can drink at the same outing.
Food and alcohol do have one thing in common, and that’s the need for moderation. While it can seem as if you’re not taking in any calories at all when you drink because you don’t feel full, the examples above show that’s definitely not the case.
Drink moderately both in amount and frequency to help keep your body, mind and soul at their very best. If you feel as if you may have a drinking problem, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.