Evil Genius: Calculator Shares Calorie Count of Your Booze Intake
Prepare to be shocked. This evil genius website gives you the caloric equivalent of beer, wine, cider, spirits and champagne, plus how long you’ll have to run to burn it off. (Gif: Comedy Central)
For a lot of people, beer and wine is the perfect accompaniment to a good meal. And now that it’s BBQ season, you could find yourself drinking more often — and for longer stretches of time — than you normally would.
But while you’re no doubt aware of how many calories are in the food you’re eating, the calories in the alcohol you’re consuming tend to get a little … forgotten.
That’s a problem that the website Drinkaware is hoping to solve with their new online Unit & Calorie Calculator. The calculator is easy to use — just enter in how many drinks you had of a particular type of booze (you can choose from beer in a pint or bottle, cider, wine, Champagne, hard alcohol, and wine coolers, plus specify brands for more exact numbers) and you’ll get your results.
THE BURGER AND EXERCISE EQUIVALENT OF ONE GLASS OF WINE
And they’re eye-opening: The calculator translates what you drank into food terms (burgers, to be exact), plus how long it will take you to burn off those extra calories. It also will flag if your drinking habits put you at risk for developing an alcohol-related illness.
Drank two bottles of beer at a barbeque? That’s the same as if you’d chowed on an extra burger, and it’ll take you nearly 30 minutes of running to burn it off. Split a bottle of wine over dinner? It’ll take almost 50 minutes of running to get rid of those extra calories.
The calculator is a great tool to use because it breaks down the empty calories from alcohol into terms that can actually have an impact, says certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group.
Many people don’t understand how many calories they need on a daily basis, she explains to Yahoo Health, so even when they’re aware of how many calories are in their drinks, it doesn’t have an impact. Comparing the calories found in a drink to an unhealthy food, though, sends a “much more powerful message.”
Empty calories from alcohol are an issue in particular, Moskovitz says, because they provide very little, if any nutritional value — and they can easily cause you to gain weight without realizing it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t kick back with a drink or two; it’s just probably a good idea to reach for a lower-calorie option. Try a light beer, red wine, or liquor mixed with a zero calorie additive like sparkling flavored water, says Samuel Accardi, lead dietitian for nutrition intelligence company Mind Plus Matter.
While Drinkaware’s calculator doesn’t tackle mixed drinks, Moskovitz says that it’s especially important to steer clear of sweet-tasting cocktails that you’d associate with a tropical vacation like pina coladas, daiquiris, and frozen margaritas. Why? They’re sugar and calorie bombs. A standard 8 ounce pina colada, for example, has almost 500 calories and more than 50 grams of sugar. “For many people, that’s a third of their daily calorie needs and more than twice the amount of added sugar they should have in one day,” says Moskovitz.
If you’re planning to drink when you know there will be food around, keep this in mind: Accardi warns that alcohol can increase hunger cravings and it ups the odds you’ll make poor food choices. His advice? Eat first, then start drinking. The alcohol will absorb more slowly, and you’ll be less likely to drink as much —and have extra empty calories — because you’ll be full.
It also probably doesn’t hurt to keep this on the backburner: You’re basically drinking half a burger every time you sip a bottle of beer.
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