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Another thing that might make us think of moderating our drinking is the weight factor. Though we might think the issue with booze is carbs, it’s actually alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are packed with kilojoules; alcohol being second in energy density only to fat. So it pays to think of alcohol as food.

To demonstrate: drinking, say, three 180ml glasses of red wine or three 330ml bottles of cider will add nearly 2000kJ to your day. That’s the equivalent of eating nearly seven slices of white bread. Three 330ml bottles of lager has around 1500kJ — the equivalent of more than five slices of white bread — and three double gins with standard tonic has a whopping 2200kJ — the equivalent of nearly eight slices of white bread. If you wouldn’t add that kind of extra food to your day, it could be good to reconsider that second or third glass, too.

So how can we drink in a healthy way? A good rule to consider that keeps us inside healthy drinking guidelines is the ‘1-2-3’ rule. It goes like this: one drink a day (or) no more than two drinks at any one time; no more than three times a week. This is a nice, simple idea; it allows for mindful, moderate drinking without compromising health.

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By nutrition expert – Niki Bezzant

Niki Bezzant is a writer, speaker and commentator who is passionate about food and health. Niki has been involved in the food media for 20 years. She was founding editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine, and is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday, the Monday Herald Be Well, and a frequent contributor to broadcast media. She is a proud ambassador for the Garden to Table  programme which helps kids learn how to grow, cook and share food. She is a member of the Council of Directors for the True Health Initiative and a board member for the NZ Nutrition Foundation.

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