Weight loss and alcohol are enemies, but an occasional drink can have a place in a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many experts note the potential health benefits of consuming a single drink per day, including a reduced risk for high blood pressure. If, however, you are exceeding one drink daily, you might be sabotaging your weight loss plans.
The alcohol molecules, on empty stomach, diffuse through the stomach wall quickly and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This process is slower when you have food in your stomach, but as soon as that food enters the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first priority and is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.
When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage on your 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 can easily be the enemy when it comes to weight loss. It adds extra calories to your diet, encourages you to eat more food, and alters the normal digestive process. Drinking may help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn’t very deep. As a result, you get less rest, which can trigger you to eat more calories the next day. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite.
How Many Calories and Carb Content in Alcoholic Drinks?
Regular beer has, on average, 146 calories and 13g of carbs per serving, while light beer has an average of 99 calories and 4 to 5g of carbs per serving. Watch out for malt beverages because they can contain up to 38g of carbs. One serving of beer is 12 oz.
Spirits are often called hard liquor, and include gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and brandy. One serving of these are similar at about 97 calories and 0 carbs. One serving of spirits is 1-1/2 ounces.
Liqueurs are flavored spirits, such as Irish cream, coffee flavored creams and cream de menthe. These traditionally have the highest calorie and carb count, weighing in at 8 to 24g of carbs and an average of 188 calories per serving. The One serving of liqueur equals 1-1/2 oz.
- Wine and Champagne
One serving of wine is a good choice for someone on a diet. The Consumer Federation of America states that one serving of wine is 5 oz. Depending on the color, a serving typically contains 105 to 125 calories and 0.8 to 5g of carbs. Champagne contains 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 carbs. Dessert wines can contain 12 to 14g of carbs.
Cocktails are a diet disaster because they often mix spirits or liqueurs with mixers, upping their calorie and carb count. Popular mixers include soda, margarita mix and juice. Average cocktails contain 140 to 170 or more calories per serving. One cocktail won’t derail a diet, but making them a habit will cause weight gain.