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Australian nutritionist Sarah di Lorenzo reveals alcoholic drinks with lowest calories

An Australian nutritionist has shared her guide to the lowest calorie drinks as millions race to the pub to celebrate freedom.

If you're looking to shift lockdown weight without sitting in, clinical food expert Sarah Di Lorenzo says you could order a gin or vodka mixed with soda water, which both contain just 83 calories per glass. 

According to her calculations, wine lovers can save half their usual intake by switching to champagne. A glass of red or white contains an average of 160 calories while a flute of bubbles has just 77 calories.

Other slimline choices include a 60-calorie shot of tequila, which Ms Di Lorenzo calls a 'dieter's best friend'. 

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Australian nutritionist Sarah Di Lorenzo (pictured) has shared her guide to the lowest calorie drinks as millions race to the pub to celebrate freedom

Those looking to shift lockdown weight without sitting in should order a gin or vodka mixed with soda water, which both contain just 83 calories per glass

How many calories are in your favourite drinks? 

1 glass of wine - 160 calories

1 glass of champagne - 77 calories

1 gin and soda - 83 calories

1 vodka and soda - 83 calories

1 standard beer - 144 calories

1 Aperol Spritz - 125 calories

1 tequila shot - 60 calories

The expert says the real danger lies in alcohol laced with sugary additives such as spirits mixed with soft drinks and the worst offender of all: cocktails.

But there's one fruity exception: an Aperol Spritz, which contains just 125 calories per glass and is a 'better choice than wine', according to Ms Di Lorenzo.

'Alcohol is a way of life for many and it's important to be realistic,' she told 7News. 

'Match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water...being hydrated will also help minimise the craving for hangover food the next day.'

To keep your weight and overall health in check, Ms Di Lorenzo says you should abstain from alcohol four to five nights a week.

Staying sober the majority of the time allows your liver to rest and prevents fluid retention which is linked to regular drinking.

While many are rapt to return to the pub, almost two million Australians are now living an alcohol-free lifestyle.

According to Ms Di Lorenzo's calculations, wine lovers can save themselves half their usual intake by switching to champagne

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal more than a quarter of Australians (28.9 per cent) are mostly abstaining from alcohol, while a further 9.5 per cent are drinking less than they were this time last year. 

The number of ex-drinkers in Australia has risen from 1.5million to 1.9million over the past four years.

This growing sober scene is largely fuelled by hordes of Instagram influencers who tout the benefits of their alcohol-free lifestyles online, including fitness mogul Kayla Itsines, 30, who says she hasn't touched a drop since the age of 19.

The hospitality industry is taking note, with the nation's first-ever non-alcoholic bar Brunswick Aces opening its doors in Melbourne on May 1, pouring a menu of more than 100 alcohol-free beers, wines and cocktails to teetotal punters.

Kayla Itsines (pictured) has been famously teetotal since the age of 19 after having nothing but negative experiences with hangovers and sickness

A former drinker's top three tips for giving up alcohol 

1. Connect with the sober community

'This can be done in whatever way works for you, but whether it's AA, a local support group or an online forum, you need to be reaching out and talking to people,' Ms Lionnet said.

2. Learn about alcohol

One of the things Ms Lionnet believes has kept her from relapsing is educating herself about what alcohol consumption really does to the human body.

Books she recommends include Holly Whitaker's 'Quit Like A Woman' and 'Annie's Naked Mind' by Annie Grace.

3. Simultaneous self-discovery

Ms Lionnet believes you need to understand why you are drinking if you want to stop.

'You need to find out what experiences have caused you to drink and resolve them at the root,' she said.

This can be done through therapy, participating in alcohol-free challenges or anything that works on transforming your beliefs to align with your true moral values, Ms Lionnet says. 

Source: It's Not Me It's Booze

But while many coped with lockdown by turning away from the bottle, more than 18 months of restrictions has sent a worrying number of Australians into a spiral of heavy drinking.

Household alcohol spending skyrocketed across Australia after coronavirus turned normality on its head, with Aussies dropping a staggering $2billion more than usual on booze last year.

Drinkers spent an average of $1,891 per household on alcohol in 2020 - an increase of $270 on the 2019 total, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

The alarming trend worsened last winter when Melbourne's five million residents were forced into a type of protective custody during the world's harshest lockdown which lasted more than four months.

Revealed: Long-term effects of regular heavy drinking

Brain: Drinking too much can affect your concentration, judgement, mood and memory. It increases your risk of having a stroke and developing dementia.

Heart: Heavy drinking increases your blood pressure and can lead to heart damage and heart attacks.

Liver: Drinking three to four standard drinks a day increases your risk of developing liver cancer. Long-term heavy drinking also puts you at increased risk of liver cirrhosis (scarring) and death. 

Stomach: Drinking even one to two standard drinks a day increases your risk of stomach and bowel cancer, as well as stomach ulcers. 

Fertility: Regular heavy drinking reduces men's testosterone levels, sperm count and fertility. For women, drinking too much can affect their periods.

Source: Health Direct

Victoria's alcohol services experienced a surge in demand as locked-down residents turned to the bottle, with a survey from the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association revealing alcohol featured either 'a lot more' or 'a bit more' as a drug of concern.

Bingeing is already taking a toll on the nation's health.

A revolutionary health calculator developed by AIA Vitality recently claimed Australians are ageing a staggering nine years faster than they should be.

The free five-minute test gives an alarming insight into the true 'health age' of Australians by analysing the answers to a range of behavioural questions about diet, exercise and most importantly, alcohol consumption. 

A 2019 study funded by St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne found excess alcohol consumption causes more harm to Australians' physical and mental wellbeing than any drug, surpassing both crystal methamphetamine (ice) and heroin.