Extra calories aren’t the only added punch. According to Dr. Nady el-Guebaly, medical director of the Addiction Centre, Calgary Health Region, “The quantity of alcohol absorbed by a female stomach is higher than that of a man.” Why the difference? Women have less of the enzyme that gobbles up booze. Plus, we gals get more of a buzz because alcohol is drawn to fat, which women typically carry more of.
But what about the health benefits of alcohol you’ve heard about? Dr. el-Guebaly says there’s robust evidence indicating that less than two drinks a day reduces the risk of heart disease. In terms of drawbacks, he points to a recent study by the Northern California Cancer Center demonstrating a greater chance of breast cancer in predisposed women, even with low consumption. So, the next time you’re driven to drink, repeat this mantra: drink small quantities, drink slowly and drink with food.
The tipple sheet
You’ll find approximate calorie and alcohol counts for your favourite drinks below. Just don’t forget that the tumbler of shiraz you pour at home might be larger than these average serving sizes.
What we’re drinking
Happy hour is here again, according to these eye-opening figures from Statistics Canada.
· In 2002, Canadians spent $14.5 billion on 2.7 billion litres of beer, wine and spirits—enough alcohol to fill almost 900 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
· The average Canadian bought about 85 litres of beer, 12 litres of wine and seven litres of spirits.
· Our thirst for spirit- and wine-based coolers jumped 63 per cent and 24 per cent respectively that year.
· Canadians bought 139 per cent more wine than in 1970, but three per cent fewer spirits and 16 per cent less beer.
· Red wine represents 55 per cent of total wine sold.
· Martini bars are an urban trend. Mixed drinks and plain liquor attract only about two per cent of the population.