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Being Smart About Alcohol

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Being Smart About Alcohol

“Will drinking make me gain weight or will I lose these extra pounds? Is a little alcohol during my meals healthy or is it bad for me? How much alcohol can I consume without harming myself?”

These are just some of the questions we find asking ourselves when it comes to drinking. Alcohol has been a part of many cultures for thousands of years and it continues to be a part of our daily lives till today. Sometimes one may find it extremely difficult to avoid a drink in social gatherings when you’re on a diet plan. But if you are smart about some basics when it comes to alcohol, you can continue to drink in healthier ways.

Alcohol and Weight Gain

There has always been debate over facts about alcohol and whether at all it is healthy or not. But to answer the million dollar question, alcohol does not cause weight gain.

Research by Jequier, E for The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that alcohol has very little to do with weight gain. The rationale that suggests that alcohol doesn't necessarily increase weight is uncertain, but research suggests that alcohol energy is not competently used. Alcohol also increases metabolic rate significantly, thus causing more calories to be burned rather than stored in the body as fat. Other research has found that the consumption of sugar decreases as the consumption of alcohol increases. Both these factors help to reduce and control, rather than gain, weight.

Nutritional Facts

 

Beverage Calories  Carbs (grams)  Fat (grams)
Alcohol
Beer (regular) 146 13.13 .000
Beer (lite) 99 4.60 .000
All Distilled Spirits (rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, bourbon, etc.) 97 0.00 .000
Wine (red) 125 3.5 .000
Wine (white) 120 3.5 .000
Non-Alcoholic
Apple juice (unsweetened) 117 28.96 .273
Apricot juice 140 36.11 .226
Carbonated cola 155 39.77 .000
Grape juice (unsweetened) 155 37.84 .202
Grapefruit juice (unsweetened) 94 22.13 .247
Lemonade 131 34.05 .149
Milk (2% fat) 122 11.41 4.807
Orange juice (unsweetened) 112 26.84 .149
Prune juice 182 44.67 .077
Tangerine juice (unsweetened) 125 29.88 .098
Tomato juice 41 10.30 .122

 

It may come as a surprise to many but alcohol doesn’t have many calories to begin with, let alone fat. In fact, some of the non-alcoholic drinks that we consume on a daily basis contain more calories and fat than most alcohol drinks. Let’s have a look at the facts about alcohol in standard servings compared to non-alcoholic beverages.

Here is a surprising fact about alcohol! Grape juice or a carbonated cola has more calories than regular beer. Also, notice how alcohol doesn’t have any fat content and that lemonade or unsweetened tangerine juice both have more calories than red or white wine.

The Importance of Moderation

The moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and longer life than is either abstaining from alcohol or abusing alcohol. However, heavy drinking is associated with cirrhosis of the liver, and other health problems. The key word is moderation.

Moderate drinking has been described by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a man consuming four drinks on any day and an average of 14 drinks per week. For women, it is consuming three drinks in any one day and an average of seven drinks per week.

A regular drink is:

  • a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
  • a five-ounce glass of dinner wine
  • a shot of liquor or spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink)

Always remember, to a breathalyzer, they're all the same. Don’t drink and drive. To decide what level is appropriate for you, consult your doctor.

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