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How bad are your favourite drunk foods, really?

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Research by Britain’s University of Liverpool recently found that alcohol actually stimulates our appetite for salty, high-fat foods. Which is annoying when you think that salt can make the dehydrating effects of alcohol worse. Seriously body, work with us here…

But we have good news, too.

A study by the University of Indiana found that if you don’t eat, it takes alcohol 45% longer to leave your system – and that carbs, proteins and fats all do the trick. Researchers believe it’s because more blood flows to the liver after eating, helping its enzymes get that booze backlog out of there.

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Fact is: if you’re going to order a Big Mac once in a while, you may as well enjoy it.

“We don’t always need to be perfect,” admits nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, founder of Low Sugar Lifestyle (myfamilywellness.com.au).

“Big Mac and chips isn’t healthy, but nor is it realistic to say you’ll never, ever touch one again. I often tell my clients that it’s OK to have a poison.”

Here’s her three-second nutritional evaluation of your favourite drunk foods:

1. Pizza

“Has carbs, protein and fat, and as long as it isn’t loaded with greasy sausage – which is packed with preservatives – this isn’t too bad.”

Bonus points if you blot off excess oil and go heavy on the veggies.

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2. Kebabs

“Just like pizza, it depends where the ingredients are from and if they are full of trans-fats and preservatives (doner, we’re looking at you). But it’s a better option than anything sugary, which just gives you a super blood-sugar spike (disastrous for falling asleep afterwards).”

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3. Big Mac

“Full of processed ingredients – definitely a ‘drunk’ food – but my suggestion would always be to go for the food that has some protein and fat, and this does. Ditch the sugary soft drink.”

4. Chips

“The best variety is baked chips made with olive oil. But that’s unlikely at 3am, when all you’re likely to find is hot chips deep-fried in oil that’s been used 100 times.” Skip smothering them in mayo to reduce fat, and go easy on the salt.

And three better alternatives if you make it home without being sucked into Maccas:

- Whole wheat crackers or toast. Contain complex carbs that absorb alcohol and B vitamins. Add peanut butter (fatty-ish, but high in protein) or hummus.

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- Cereal with low-fat milk. Carb-rich, contains fluids, and mega-easy.

- Jacket potato. Cook it in the microwave, not the oven – this is not the time to be operating machinery!

And, remember, serve everything with an extremely large helping of… water.

Sorry, a little part of us had to be a killjoy.

What is your all-time favourite drunk food?

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