After Steve’s comments on my last entry (Portion Advice) about Weightwatcher points, I looked at the labels on a few 355 ml (12 oz) beverage cans. The Safeway house brand root beer and regular cola have 162 and 161 calories per can, respectively. Diet Coke has 2 calories per can. Schweppe’s diet ginger ale, 0 calories. Schweppes Tonic Water – 130 calories. Canada Dry Tonic – not marked. Presidents Choice Brew (0.5 percent beer) is 65 calories per can. I have some regular beer in the house, but beer labels don’t have nutritional data. I dug up some information.
There is a Health Canada booklet called “Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods”, available online in pdf format here. The information on alcohol is at page 40 of the Health Canada booklet.
A bottle of regular 5 percent alcohol beer – they must mean a regular 341 ml (12 oz) bottle is 151 calories. A bottle of 4 percent alcohol light beer is 95 calories. A 50 ml shot (1 and half oz) of hard liquor is 115 calories. (Add about half a can of coke – 6 oz or more – to your rye or rum and you’re at about 200 calories for about 7.5 or 8 ozs of fluid. A beer has less calories and less alcohol for the same amount of fluid. That’s not surprizing, is it?)
50 ml of liqueur is 211 calories. A 125 ml glass of red or white table (not fortified or sweet dessert) wine 90 and 85 calories respectively. I figured out what 125 ml means in relation to glasses and servings. It’s 1/6 of a 750 ml bottle or about 4 and half oz which means a regular serving in a wine glass. Half a bottle of wine has the same calories as two regular beer (and the same amount of alcohol as 3 regular beer).
So if you don’t crave the taste of regular soft drinks, diet soft drinks are way better than regular soft drinks. The differences between diet drinks and water are flavour, sodium, additives, carbonation and cost.
Light beer has less calories than regular beer and regular soft drinks. The super low alcohol beers are lighter than light beer. As it happens, I am finding that Labatt’s Nordic isn’t bad and PC Brew is tasty – I like them better than the Clear beers (Jackrabbit, Sleeman’s Clear) I tried last summer.
Is it necessary to give up beer and wine to control weight? Ten plain potato chips (or Pringles) is 100 calories. And what’s in a Big Mac or a Whopper?
It has been nearly 20 years since my father was diagnosed with diabetes. He had to give up alcohol. His favourite drink was VO and 7 and he said beer drinkers threw rocks at airplanes. He had to give up and all extra sugar including most desserts and cookies. He has complained from time to time that he resents the loss of his freedom to eat what he sees other people having. That’s fair enough but we have to accept our own limitations and we should also honestly say that we can’t go by what we see other people doing. They have different metabolisms, different lives – and they are often consuming in excess of their healthy needs.