Drinking, Calories & Snacking - Everything you need to know

Sep 14, 2021

We all know that diets don't work! But if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle long term, then it's worth understanding the ways that alcohol can sabotage weight loss.
A woman outside with her hands up

It's well known fact that alcoholic drinks contain a lot more calories than their non-alcoholic counterparts. But that's just the beginning. I spoke to, Naomi Harnett (pictured below) a nationally recognised nutritionist, to find out more. 

Naomi Harnett taking notes

The link between alcohol and snacking 

Naomi tells me that there are numerous ways that alcohol can sabotage healthy eating. "Alcohol tends to lower inhibitions and reduce your impulse control, which is why alcohol consumption often goes hand in hand with snacking," she explains. 

Lack of impulse control means that you're also less likely to make healthy choices. On top of this, Naomi notes that alcohol makes us crave salty snacks.

"This is because because your body becomes dehydrated as it processes and eliminates alcohol, and salt provides electrolytes to help retain water. This can cause a bit of a vicious cycle where the salty snacks make you thirsty, so you drink more, become more dehydrated, and crave more salty snacks," she says.

How is alcohol metabolised 

Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories (calories with no nutritional benefit) but on top of this, the way that alcohol is metabolised means that the food you eat alongside that alcohol is processed differently.

"Most of the alcohol you drink is processed in the liver, which is also involved in converting stored energy (aka fat) into fuel. When you ingest alcohol, the liver perceives it as a poison so prioritises it’s processing and removal from the body," Naomi explains. 

She continues: "The kilojoules from alcohol then become the primary source of fuel, rather than the conversion of existing energy stores, or utilising dietary fats and carbohydrates you may be eating alongside your drink which then are processed and added to those energy stores."

In other words, alcohol hijacks the organs involved in the fat burning process. 

Alcohol and exercise 

A happy woman riding a bike

Naomi tells me that there are numerous ways alcohol can sabotage exercise.

"Obviously the morning after hangover isn’t doing any favours to your motivation to go smash it out at the gym, and depending on how much you’ve had to drink the night before, it’s actually not the best idea to do a high intensity session anyway," she says. 

Naomi says that on top of dehydration, alcohol can be a real spanner in the works for your training regime. "If you’ve really overindulged it’s a good idea to give your body time to rest and recover with some nutritious foods before jumping back into exercise, although some lower intensity activities like a walk in the fresh air or some yoga can be helpful to get things circulating again.

"If you’re really dedicated to a more active lifestyle, switching to a low or non alcoholic option is really going to reap rewards," she adds. 

How non-alcoholic drinks can help maintain a healthy lifestyle 

Let's start with the obvious - non-alcoholic drinks are significantly lower in calories. For example, a traditional glass of Sauvignon Blanc is 81 calories per 100ml whereas Giesen 0% Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is just 13 calories per 100ml. 

But it's not just about the numbers. Non-alcoholic drinks won't mess with your sleep, so you'll make up pumped for your morning workout. They won't dehydrate you. They won't cause snack cravings and they won't impact your metabolism. The best bit though, is that they taste great, so you won't feel like you're missing out. 

Top 5 low calorie non-alcoholic drinks 

According to Australian guidelines, beverages need to be 80 kJ/100 or less to earn the low calorie label and 2.5g or less sugar per 100ml to be labeled low sugar. At Sans Drinks we provide the calorie and sugar content for all of our drinks and categories these easily for you to help you make informed shopping choices. 

Here are my favorite low calorie options. 

Giesen 0%

What customers are saying: "So enjoy drinking the Giesen Sav Blanc, don’t feel like I’m missing out in any way!" 

Calories: 13 per 100ml 


Newblood Non Alcoholic Chardonnay

What customers are saying: "Definitely my fav non alcoholic white wine. I’ve tasted a lot of them & they just miss the complexity. This is perfect!" 

Calories: 14 per 100ml 


NON 4 Roasted Beetroot & Sansho

What customers are saying: "Vibrant and full with an edge of spice and funk. Definitely a great option for me as I find a lot of non-alcoholic options a bit light and summery - this was awesome with food. Definitely felt like a bit of an earth goddess drinking this." 

Calories: 15 per 100ml  


Monday Distillery Classic Non-Alcoholic G&T

What customers are saying: "I absolutely rate this, I can pop small wedges of lemon straight in the bottle or have on ice. This is the real deal, can’t say enough about this product. Perfection!" 

Calories: Less than 1 calorie per 100ml 


Finery Alcohol-Free Sparkling Cocktail - Vanilla & Elderflower

What customers are saying: "Bright and bubbly" 

Calories: 3 per 100ml 


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