Everyone knows that alcohol adversely affects the body. Excessive alcohol intake is injurious to the body and can cause a plethora of health conditions and decrease life expectancy. On the other hand, the effects of alcohol on weight gain are rarely discussed.
Why Alcohol Can Cause Weight Gain
The calories content of alcohol is surprising to most. Everyone knows that desserts are fattening. Moderate or “healthy” levels of alcohol consumption can cause weight gain and will definitely impede weight loss efforts and it is all too easy to overdo it with alcohol calories. Alcohol is not only incredibly high in calories causing weight gain, but also interferes with the body’s metabolism to reduce the amount of fat the body burns. After you drink alcohol a small percentage of the alcohol is converted to fat, with most converted into a substance known as acetate. Acetate gets released into the bloodstream where it replaces fat as the main source of fuel. Thus, alcohol possess the unfortunate combination of being calorie rich, but also inhibiting / reducing fat burning. In other words, the body is forced into storing a glut of unburned calories causing weight gain. This possibly makes sugary alcoholic drinks the worst concept ever and the greatest stumbling block to those trying to lose weight or avoid weight gain.
Still, you need not resign yourself to a life of white wine spritzers – 100 calories per five ounce glass. A quick study of the calorie content of your favorite drinks and the replacement of high calorie drinks with lower calorie alternatives will make not only make you a smarter drinker, but a healthier and thinner one, too. The number of calories in mixed drinks depends on the:
- Ask the bartender for low-calorie / diet mixers wherever possible.
- Turn your wine into a spritzer (a longer drink) and your lager into a shandy. Both these options contain fewer calories.
- Swap your alcoholic soda / alcopop for a shot of spirit with a low calorie mixer. This will reduce the calories by a whopping 70%!
- Give the mixer a miss entirely. Try ordering your favorite spirit or one of the new flavored liquors on the rocks. Flavored vodkas are not sweetened but infused with flavors, from peach and orange to jalapeno, without adding any extra calories or carbs.
- Include your alcohol calories in your food diary and daily calorie quota.
- If you know you will be drinking during the weekend, save up on calories in advance. This will allow you to eat normally during the weekend and enjoy a few drinks.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or water. The clever strategy is to finish one cocktail/ glass of wine/ beer and follow it with a nonalcoholic, low-calorie beverage (e.g. sparkling water with a lime) that visually resembles an alcoholic drink. This way you not only lessen your chances of over-consuming calories and alcohol, but it also stay hydrated helping you wake up with a clear head the morning after!
- Dilute your drink with club soda or sparkling water, e.g. wine spritzers are a low-calorie classic.
- Commence the evening with a large glass of (sparkling) water. This will quench your thirst and stop you from using alcohol to do it for you.
NEVER SKIP MEALS FOR DRINKS
- The French and the Italians don’t do it and yet make some of the best alcohol, enjoy it often (with or after meals) and as a nation manage not to be overweight.
- Alcohol will not satisfy your hunger and will not quench your thirst. In fact, alcohol will decrease blood sugar levels, as it prevents the sugar normally stored in the liver, from being used. When your blood sugar drops it signals your brain that you are hungry. These hunger pangs in combination with the alcohol-induced drop in inhibitions often culminates in serious snack attacks, such that you’ll find yourself overeating whatever food is within striking distance.That’s when the diet goes out of the window.
- A proper meal before drinks will line your stomach, which will slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream.