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January 04, 2013

Cut out alcohol if you aim to get slimmer

Beer pintsNew Year dieters should cut alcohol out of their diets to lose weight as it contains hundreds of ‘hidden’ calories, cancer campaigners have said.

Alcohol such as beer has 'hidden' calories Photo: Alamy

Drinkers obtain about 200 calories a day from booze on average, but few know that it is almost as energy-dense as fat, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
It has found that few count ‘liquid calories’ when assessing how much they consume while on a diet.
Meanwhile, Cancer Research has found that almost four out of 10 people break their New Year’s resolutions within a fortnight, while only one in 11 sticks it out to the six-month mark.
Both charities are trying to get people to reduce their alcohol consumption during the traditional January detox, because research indicates the drug causes 13,000 cancer cases every year in Britain.
Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: "The calories in alcoholic drinks account for a significant proportion of a drinker's calorie consumption while providing little, if any, nutritional benefit.

"Cutting down on drinking can have a big effect on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
"Recent reports have shown that people are unaware of calories in drinks and don't include them when calculating their daily consumption."
She added: "This is important from a cancer perspective because, after smoking, being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor.”
While fat contains nine calories per gram, few people know that pure alcohol comes a close second with seven calories per gram, she noted.
A pint of Stella Artois contains about 255 calories - the same as a Mars bar - while a large (250ml) glass of white wine has roughly 200 calories.
Ms Mendoza added: "There is also strong scientific evidence that alcohol itself is a cancer risk factor - possibly through damaging our DNA - in cancers of the breast, bowel, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and liver."
Drinking alcohol has long been known to have a protective effect on the heart, but doctors say this is only really a benefit in men over 40 and post-menopausal women.
Cancer Research UK, which polled 4,000 adults, found 39 per cent gave up their resolutions within two weeks and only nine per cent lasted to six months.
Close to half of people (45 per cent) blame lack of willpower for their lack of ability to stay the course.
It is challenging people to keep off alcohol and raise money for the charity in January by taking part in its ‘Dryathon’.
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