On the Eleventh Day….

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Eleven emus kicking…ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs and a kookaburra up a gum tree. Emus worry me, they really do.  Beady little eyes and a lonnnnnnggg neck that looks like it might reach out at any moment and give you a little peck followed up by a quick kick.  An iconic Australian product that we all know is the good old Emu Export beer.  It is still around but not considered to be in vogue now.  It was and still is a full-strength beer but now we are bombarded with low carb beers.  Are they the real deal? Low carb beers are low in carbohydrates but they still contain alcohol and therefore kilojoules.  Choosing a low carb beer over a full strength beer will save you about 100 kilojoules.  In a 375ml can or stubby of full strength beer there will be approximately 13 grams of carbohydrate compared to 3 grams in the low carb version, so this could be useful for diabetics but there is still have issue of the alcohol content.  Low carb beers are not new in Australia and are not the same as ‘light’ beers which are lower in alcohol, so watch out for the false promises of beer advertisers. If you are concerned about your weight (and Christmas Day may not the day to be concerned), consider choosing a beer that you enjoy and drinking less of it.

On the Second Day….

Two tips in one day is a lot to take in I know but we need to catch up……On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two pink galahs… and a kookaburra in a gum tree. If the illustrations are anything to go by in the ‘The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas’, the pink galahs are throwing back a couple of cocktails and teasing the kookaburra.  I had a quick word to Santa today at the shops and he did indeed confirm that the galahs do like to imbibe in a few beverages around Christmas and revel in being the life of the party. Just in case you do too, there are some things that might be handy to take on board.  What you choose to drink is a key factor.  Red and white wine and champagne are pretty similar with a 100ml glass containing between 270-295 kJ.  Beer seems like at a winner at 149kJ per 100ml but lets face it, who drinks only 100ml beer?  Can you imagine cracking open a stubbie and then having to give it away after drinking only just under a quarter? Then we move a little higher, onto the spirit shelf.  A spirit like vodka, whisky, bourbon and the like attracts around 270kJ per 30ml shot whilst the elite spirits like Malibu, Baileys or Sambuca contain 420kJ per 30ml but watch out for their friends, the mixer.  A glass of mixer like cola or lemonade contains 420kJ, which can be just as much as the alcohol.  Would you sit down and eat 8-10 teaspoons sugar?  I didn’t think so. Then there are the nuts, chips, dips and the like that make you drink more. Its not your fault, they are very addictive and persuasive aren’t they?  Fat and alcohol are friends too and togetherness promotes fat storage.  Of course I would not suggest that you should drink alcohol and not eat, that would be irresponsible BUT think about eating a healthy snack or meal before you hit the party  This will eliminate the need to pounce on platters of finger food as they sail by and most importantly less excess baggage in January.

One beer bottle…..

What better time than Friday afternoon to celebrate the fact that today it is International Beer Day. Who knew? When beer is discussed in my presence it is usually in reference to whether it is ‘betterer for you’ if there is such a thing, than wine or other alcohol. The thing is, standard servings of beer and wine are very similar in terms of kilojoule content and both can contribute to weight gain indirectly. Beer nutrition: these two words are not usually seen together, so let’s do some math.  If wine and beer are compared on a 100ml basis this is what we find: Wine, red                                         295 kJ White wine, dry                                 283 kJ White wine, sweet                             275 kJ Beer, average                                   149 kJ Fantastic, you think, these figures are reassuring, and beer is looking great.  There is a small problem though.  Most people don’t usually drink just 100ml of beer. Imagine drinking 100ml out of your stubby and then passing it on to your mate to finish off.  No, I didn’t think so. Standard drink servings vary in size depending on the type of alcohol.  A standard serving of beer is 250ml or 2/3 can or stubby while a standard serving of wine is 100ml.  Restaurants are more generous when they pour, it seems.  An average restaurant size serving of wine is 180ml or 1.8 standard drinks, and the average serving size of a full strength beer is 375ml or 1 middy/can/stubby, which is equal to 1.5 standard drinks. If you go out and enjoy 2-3 wines or 2-3 stubbys of beer, you will clock up around 1500 -1600 kJ in both cases. This is equivalent to chomping through 4 slices of multi-grain bread, although not quite as nutritious!   Beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks can weaken one’s resolve and soon have you reaching for high fat snacks.  Combining fatty foods with alcohol is the worst combination of all for weight gain, so it is a good idea to eat a meal before drinking alcohol to lessen the temptation to reach for the chips and peanuts. So, Happy International Beer Day to you and please enjoy your 100ml shots.