Boozy young Brits will drink nearly 4,000 calories in alcohol on festive season nights out

Cancer Research UK

As the nation gears up for the festive season it’s not just the goose that’s getting fat, the waistbands of the nation could be expanding too, in particular among 18-34 year olds. New figures* released today by Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon® indicate that the average young British adult will consume an estimated 3,700** calories in alcohol alone on evenings out and parties throughout the upcoming Christmas season.

This equates to consuming around 200 chocolate gold coins*** and this number of calories would take around seven hours of jogging to burn off****. When combined with all the extra calories from those festive nibbles and treats that are often hard to resist, this could mean young Brits may consume far more calories than perhaps they'd like in the run up to Christmas.

“December is upon us again and, for most of us, this means a surge of parties and nights out. All the socialising during this time could result in us Brits consuming far more calories than we realise through alcohol alone" - Anthony Newman, director of marketing at Cancer Research UK

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of 18 – 24 year olds and a third (33 per cent) of 25 – 34 year olds have skipped a meal on or before a previous evening out in order to "make room" in their daily calorie allowance for alcohol. Drinking on an empty stomach could mean young Brits are storing up trouble for that night and beyond.

The research, which asked 2,000 adults of a wide age-range about their drinking habits, was commissioned by Cancer Research UK to mark the launch of Dryathlon®. A chance to balance out the festive overindulgence while doing a bit of good, Dryathlon challenges people across the UK to swap their lager for a latte, or their cocktail for a mocktail and give up alcohol during January to help beat cancer sooner. 

Over a third (36 per cent) of adults who drink named wine as their favourite tipple during the festive season, yet more than 9 in 10 Brits (95 per cent) didn’t know roughly how many calories there are in a standard glass (175ml) of wine.******

Brits that drink were also oblivious when it came to the amount of calories in beer.  Despite a fifth (22 per cent) saying they prefer to drink beer, more than 9 in 10 (95 per cent) of Brits didn’t know approximately how many calories there were in a standard pint of beer. *******

Alcohol could not only affect the nation’s festive waistlines, but potentially their bank balances too.  A third of those surveyed (33 per cent) spent more money than they intended to during last year’s festive period, with three in ten of them putting this down to spending more on alcohol. 

Anthony Newman, director of marketing at Cancer Research UK, said: “December is upon us again and, for most of us, this means a surge of parties and nights out. All the socialising during this time could result in us Brits consuming far more calories than we realise through alcohol alone as it's sometimes difficult to know the exact calorie content of what we are drinking. 

“Once the festive season is over and we all feel we have overindulged a bit, we’re asking people to bin the booze throughout January and take part in Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon®. It’s a great way to kick off a healthy New Year, feel better, save a little cash and maybe even lose a few party pounds, all whilst raising money to help beat cancer sooner.”

Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon® will be running from 1 to 31 January 2015 and registrations are open now at dryathlon.org. The 2014 Dryathlon® campaign saw an incredible 55,000 Dryathletes® raising over £5.8m by going dry for 31 days to beat cancer sooner.

ENDS

For further press information, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 0203 469 8315 or for out of hours, 07050 264059.

Notes to Editor

*Respondents were asked how many different sized portions of wine, beer/cider, and spirits they drank during their last evening out/ party, to give an estimated number of units. The average estimated number of units consumed during the last evening out/ party were applied to the average number of evenings out/ parties respondents predicted they would attend during the coming festive period (1st December-2nd January), to give an estimate of the average number of units to be consumed per British adult during the coming festive period during evenings out/ parties. Estimates are based on respondents who could recall what they drank during their last evening out/ party. The total units consumed during the last evening out/ party per respondent was capped at 50 units.

Estimated number of units to be consumed during the festive period by young Brits (62 units) equates to 30 standard (175ml) glasses of 12% wine, or 22 pints of 5% beer.

Units and calories calculations used the following sources:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator   http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/calories-in-alcohol.aspx#table 

**Depending on the type of alcohol consumed. Estimate of 62 units to be consumed equates to 3,740 calories’ worth of beer, or 3,750 calories’ worth of wine.

***Based on the calorie content of an 84g pack of Sainsbury’s milk chocolate coins and the average number of coins per pack.

**** Based on adult of average weight (77kg). Source: http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/preventing-heart-disease/staying-active/exercise-calorie-calculator.aspx

*****There are 126 calories in a standard 175ml glass of 12% wine, with the correct survey answer option being 101-150 calories. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/calories-in-alcohol.aspx#table

******There are 170 calories in a standard pint of 5% strength beer, with the correct answer option being 151-200 calories. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/calories-in-alcohol.aspx#table