With summer upon us, do you want to relax with a cool one?
Will alcohol sabotage your weight loss?
Alcohol and weight loss are enemies (but an occasional drink can be part of a healthy lifestyle). In fact, some experts say that there are health benefits of consuming a single drink a day, like a reduced risk for high blood pressure. But if you’re exceeding one drink daily and you’re interested in weight loss, you’re pretty much out of luck.
Let’s talk about what happens when alcohol passes your lips…
Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods. Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins that need to be slowly digested in the stomach—but not when alcohol is present. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and needs no digestion. The alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This reaction is slightly slowed when there is also food in your system, but as soon as the mixed contents enter the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first place and is absorbed quickly. The alcohol then arrives at the liver for processing. The liver places all of its attention on the alcohol. Therefore, the carbohydrates (glucose) and dietary fats ingested are just changed into body fat, waiting to be carried away for permanent fat storage in the body.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and offers NO nutritional value. It only adds empty calories to your diet.
Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking might help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn’t very deep. Ultimately, as a result, you get less rest.
Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can be detrimental to your diet plans. Alcohol stimulates your appetite, so while you’re getting calories from booze, it doesn’t fill you up so you’ll also want to chow down even more calories.
Booze: Lower inhibitions + increased appetite = Runaway train to weight gain
Here’s a plan: wait to order a drink until you’re done with eating a meal.
Here’s another tip: avoid over drinking and dehydration by downing a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.
Skipping a meal to save your calories for drinks later isn’t the best plan. You’ll actually be more tempted to eat with reckless abandon once your inhibitions are lowered. As well, you’ll really feel the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach and may find yourself with a lamp shade on your head in no time.
If you’re planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You’ll feel fuller, which will stop you from over drinking and possibly over eating too.
Whats the best alcohol to drink? You may think hard liquor is best since it has no carbs. It contains around 100 calories per shot, but adding a mix increases calories. If you’re going to mix liquor with anything, opt for a diet or club soda, instead of fruit juice or regular pop.
On the fairly rare occasion that I drink, I’ll go for gin and soda. Most people will choose gin and tonic, but tonic has empty calories/sugar that I don’t need. Honestly, I really tried to enjoy red wine with all it’s benefits, but found the pounding headache an hour after a glass not so beneficial, perhaps an organic red would be better. So if it’s wine, it’s white for me.
The list below breaks down the number of calories in typical alcoholic drinks. Compare some of your favorites to make a good choice next time you want a drink:
Drink Serving Size Calories
Red wine 5 oz. 100
White wine 5 oz. 100
Champagne 5 oz. 130
Light beer 12 oz. 105
Regular beer 12 oz. 140
Dark beer 12 oz. 170
Cosmopolitan 3 oz. 165
Martini 3 oz. 205
Long Island iced tea 8 oz. 400
Gin & Tonic 8 oz. 175
Rum & Soda 8 oz. 180
Margarita 8 oz. 200
Whiskey Sour 4 oz. 200
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