How many kilojoules could you be drinking?
The festive season is typically a time when Australians over-indulge. New data from LiveLighter reveals that 40% of Australians admitted to putting on weight over the Christmas period.
The 2019 Shape of Australia survey involved more than 2,000 Australians and found that those surveyed said they gained an average of 2.7kgs over this period.
With alcohol accounting for more than 5% of many Australians’ daily energy intake, LiveLighter’s Campaign Manager and Dietitian Alison McAleese is encouraging Aussies to reconsider their alcohol intake over the holiday period.
“We don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch, but many people may be surprised by the amount of kilojoules in alcoholic drinks.”
LiveLighter compared the kilojoule content of alcoholic drinks with junk food items and found that drinking four cans of pre-mixed spirits is equivalent to eating 21 chicken nuggets. Consuming two cans of low-carb beer has the same number of kilojoules as a chocolate bar.
Some other sobering stats about the sheer number of kilojoules in alcohol that may surprise Australians include:
- 3 glasses of wine have the same number of kilojoules as a cheeseburger;
- 2 pints of cider have the same number of kilojoules as 9 chicken nuggets;
- 1 bottle of wine has the same number of kilojoules as a Big Mac;
- 4 pints of full-strength beer have the same number of kilojoules as a Whopper.
Ms McAleese warned that while it’s easy to gain a few extra kilos over Christmas, these extra kilos have a habit of staying put as Australians continue to gain weight as they age, which can impact on their health in the long run.
“The unwanted weight gain from the empty kilojoules in alcohol can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” she said.
Ms McAleese warned that it’s not just the empty kilojoules in alcoholic products themselves that can add to weight gain.
“Many of us eat the equivalent of two days’ worth of food on Christmas day alone. Not to mention the lead up to Christmas, which often revolves around eating and drinking. Drinking alcohol frequently leads to indulging in junk food too, either while consuming alcohol or the day after.”
“Drinks don’t fill you up in the same way that food does, meaning that we can easily drink a lot of kilojoules without realising it.”
“We know this time of the year is a time for celebration, but we want to remind people that alcoholic drinks are energy-dense and have little to no nutritional value.”
There is no safe level of alcohol when it comes to cancer. If you drink alcohol, LiveLighter recommends drinking no more than 2 standard drinks a day and have alcohol-free days.
For more tips on cutting back or avoiding alcohol altogether, as well as other benefits of breaking away from booze visit the LiveLighter website.
Here’s some food for thought:
- 4 cans of pre-mixed spirits has the same number of kilojoules as 3 cheeseburgers;
- 2 cans of low-carb beer has the same number of kilojoules as a chocolate bar;
- A bottle of wine has the same number of kilojoules as 3 cinnamon donuts;
- 3 bottles of full-strength beer has the same number of kilojoules as a meat pie;
- 2 pints of full-strength beer has the same number of kilojoules as a sausage roll;
- 4 cans of pre-mixed spirits has the same number of kilojoules as a burger meal (burger, fries and soft drink);
- 2 pints of cider has the same number of kilojoules as a sundae.
 LiveLighter’s most recent ‘Shape of Australia’ report prepared for Cancer Council WA and Cancer Council Victoria– full report not yet published. A sample of 2000 respondents was used with about two thirds of the sample being aged 18-54 years of age.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian health survey: usual nutrient intakes, 2011-12