Let's Drink to Good Health

Let's Drink to Good Health

Contributed by Eve Persak, Nutrition Advisor, MS RD CNSC CSSD

Cheers to the festive season!

It’s not uncommon to knock back a tipple or two at meals during the holidays. Sure, there’s a calorie count tagged to those extra cocktails but you can counter them by simply eating less right?

Well, we’ve got news for you. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram  - that’s three more calories per gram as compared to carbohydrates or proteins. And just two calories per gram less than fats. Throw in the mixers and you’ve got a calorific concoction on hand.

Plus, you get a double whammy when you replace meals with these ‘empty liquid calories’. The lack of proper food to stabilise blood sugar levels and provide satiety, coupled with alcohol’s ability to trigger the hormones that lead to stimulated appetites, makes for a diet deal breaker.

Beer, whiskey or cocktail fan? Whatever your choice, Eve shares her top tips on how to imbibe wisely to minimise health risks while sneaking in a little nutrition!

1.     Hydrate

We can’t overemphasize the importance of drinking up – water, that is! – before, during, and after a drinking session.

  • Instead of quenching your thirst with a cocktail, starting with water helps to prevent overconsumption.
  • To delay the onset of drunkenness, try alternating a glass of water with every drink you take.  
  • Remember to hydrate with one to two glasses of water or coconut water before settling into bed to minimise any hangover effects.

2.     Choose lower calorie beverage options

Not all drinks are created equal. Here’s a brief guide on your best bet if you’re watching those calories:


  • Choose white over red.
  • A glass of white has 140 calories while the number of calories in red wine ranges from 135 calories for a light red to 200 calories for a sweet Vintage Port.


  • Choose a light or pale brew such as Pilsner over lager or stout. 
  • You’ll save 25 to 50 per cent calories with this smart swop.

Distilled spirits with 40% ABV

  • These have the lowest calories per serving at 64 calories per 30ml.
  • Examples include vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila.
  • Watch the mixers though. The sodas, juices and nectars that are added to flavour your drinks also pack in the calories. Enjoy your drink neat or with ice instead.  

3.     Minimise extra toxins

While it sure doesn’t taste like poison, alcohol is a toxin. Your liver has to work extra hard to process the alcohol and get it out of the system. To give your liver a bit of a break, avoid other toxins or artificial ingredients in your beverage by: 

  • Opting for organic wines and beer. If unavailable, go for sulphite-free wines.
  • Avoiding all artificial sweeteners such as syrups and sodas.
  • Using organic juices and fruits in your blended drinks to avoid pesticides.