Feb Fast: going alcohol-free for February

Feb Fast: going alcohol-free for February

Author -  Emily Hope

In this article, we explain what Feb Fast is all about and why you should aim to reduce your alcohol intake.

What is Feb Fast?

Feb Fast is a campaign to encourage people to ditch alcohol for the month of February. The goal is to raise money for programs that support young people with alcohol and other drug problems.

Why should you take part in Feb Fast? 

As well as being a great awareness-raising campaign, Feb Fast helps you to save money, time and a lot of hangovers... Not to mention how much it will do for whittling down that waistline! 

What’s the problem with alcohol? 

Alcohol is often described as “empty energy”, which means it provides your body with kilojoules (energy) but no other useful nutrients. In fact, other than fat, alcohol is the most energy-dense thing you can consume.

  • Fat – provides 37kJ/g 
  • Alcohol – provides 29kJ/g 
  • Carbohydrate – provides 17kJ /g
  • Protein – provides 17 kJ/g 

Because alcohol is a liquid, it doesn’t tend to fill you up. That makes it easy to drink a lot without realising how many kilojoules you’re actually consuming. Coupled with this is alcohol’s ability to stimulate our appetite, particularly for high-fat, high-salt foods such as pies and hot chips. These are also really high in energy, so they can lead to weight gain.

Then there are the “next-day” problems 

Plus, of course, there’s the next-day reason why alcohol isn’t good for us... the dreaded hangover. After a few too many drinks, it is quite common for people to laze around on the couch and to do a minimal amount of incidental activity, if any at all. This means that your plans for exercise are put on hold which if happens regularly, can easily lead to weight gain.

Finally, there’s a greater chance of overindulging in foods such as a big breakfast or ‘greasies’ in the hope it will ‘soak up’ last night’s alcohol. This again can lead to weight gain from eating too many kilojoules.

Kilojoule counts for common drinks

To help you understand how many kilojoules are in your favour tipple, try comparing it to a slice of wholegrain toast slice bread.

Food/Alcohol Kilojoules
1 slice of toast bread 400kJ
1 bottle of beer (330mL) 502kJ
1 large glass of white wine (175mL) 648kJ
1 large glass of red wine (175mL) 617kJ
1 nip of spirits (30mL) 188kJ
1 bottle low alcohol beer (330mL) 132kJ

So, if you make your way through a 750mL bottle of white wine, you’ll consume the same energy that’s in 7 slices of toast bread!

And, if you drink a dozen beers at a weekend BBQ, you’ll consume the same energy as in 15 slices of toast bread.

How to stay healthy and enjoy alcohol

There’s no problem with drinking alcohol in moderation. Just try to have some alcohol-free nights each week, and limit the number of drinks you have at any one drinking occasion. If you’re a man, keep it less than 6 standard drinks. If you’re a woman, have a maximum of 4 standard drinks. If you drink more often, reduce this amount to 3 standard drinks maximum for men, and 2 standard drinks for women. Also remember to have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. This will help you to stay hydrated and may prevent that dreaded hangover headache!

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink measures the amount of pure alcohol in a drink. One standard drink equals 10g of pure alcohol. The table shows the number of standard drinks in common alcoholic beverages.


Number of Standard Drinks

1 bottle of beer 5% (330mL) 1.3
1 large glass of 12.5% white wine (175mL) 1.7
1 large glass of 12.5% red wine (175mL) 1.7
1 nip of spirits, 40% alcohol (30mL) 1.0
1 bottle low alcohol beer 2.5% (330mL) 0.7