The Skinny on Alcohol
The perfect ending to a perfect (or not so perfect) day for many of us includes relaxing with our favorite beverage. Maybe over dinner with friends, maybe curled up by a fire with a good book. Maybe one glass of wine, maybe several beers. You can almost feel the stress melt away as the alcohol warms your inners. Life is good.
But what happens when that habit becomes your evening ritual? Or what if that one glass of wine is actually closer to a bottle? Maybe a few sobering facts will pull you out of denial in the I Can’t Seem to Lose Weight dilemma.
1. Calories come from carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol. There are 4 calories per gram in carbs and protein, 9 in fat, and 7 in alcohol. Twice the damage with no nutrient boost.
2. Carbs, protein and fat need to be broken down to be metabolized. Alcohol is absorbed immediately since it can’t be stored. That means all other digestion functions get disturbed to allow the alcohol center stage.
3. Studies show a 20% increase in calories consumed when alcohol is present. Including the calories from the alcohol brings the total to a whopping 33% increase.
4. While health claims provide us with a line of defense, studies indicate less than a glass per day for women and two for men decrease heart disease and stroke risk. In recent studies, women consuming one glass per week had similar reduced risk factors as consuming one per day. Sorry.
5. Common deficiencies from regular alcohol consumption include vitamin A and B12, calcium and folate. Think cell growth, bone density, vision, immune system, reproduction risks.
6. Mixing diet drinks with alcohol significantly increases blood alcohol levels over regular soda. This can be offset by consuming additional food. Does a calorie swap make sense?
7. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol equal Bad News. Many have been pulled from the market due to health risks. Being amped and drunk impairs any sense of moderation.
The good news is you don’t have to be a prohibitionist. Just remember that those few extra drinks can be the difference between another botched diet and successful weight management. Cheers!