As the government begins tacking obesity, many people will be trying to do more exercise or eat right. One simple weight loss solution that is often overlooked is lowering your alcohol intake.
A new study by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has found that 10% of the calories drinkers consume comes from alcohol.
“Many people starting on a diet "don't know how many calories are contained in alcoholic drinks and fail to include them when assessing their calorie intake," they said.
Gram for gram, alcohol contains more calories than protein and carbohydrates. In fact, the only thing more fattening than alcohol is fat itself.
This means cutting your drinking could help you keep that new years diet going and there is a great deal of evidence that shows it could cut your cancer risk.
The WCRF has compiled a great deal of research which shows those extra pounds could increase your risk of a number of different cancers. While some research shows that a small amount of alcohol can be good for the heart they say the risk far outweighs the reward.
To help cut down on your drinking, the WCRF advises people limit their drinking to two units a day for a man and one unit a day for a woman. They also recommend choosing the smallest serving size diluting drinks with low calorie mixers, alternating between alcoholic drinks and water or other non-alcoholic choices and avoiding alcohol altogether for a few nights a week.
This advice is backed up by an Oxford university study which found that 4,600 more lives could be saved each year if people in England cut the amount of alcohol they consume to no more than half a unit of alcohol a day.
The studies lead researcher, Dr Melanie Nichols of the BHF Health Promotion Research Group, in the Department of Public Health, at Oxford University said, "People who justify their drinking with the idea that it is good for heart disease should also consider how alcohol is increasing their risk of other chronic diseases. A couple of pints or a couple of glasses of wine per day is not a healthy option."