The Truth About Alcohol

No better time to discuss alcohol than the summer. From day-drinking to night-drinking to happy hour, summer presents endless opportunities to enjoy your favorite cocktail or cold beer. If only it was calorie and next-day-hangover-free, we would all be pretty happy (and fun) campers. Unfortunately, alcohol, at 7 calories per gram, contains almost twice as many calories per gram than carbs and proteins. This means whether you’re getting your vodka mixed with club soda or on the rocks, the calories are still coming in plenty heavy. Just 1 shot of any spirits , which is equivalent to 1.5 ounces, packs in an average of 100 calories. It also has severe dehydrating effects on the body and studies link this party time staple to having many more serious side-effects such as liver and pancreatic diseases.

Okay now, not only would I be a hypocrite if I recommended that people completely abstain from alcohol, but it’s not totally necessary to do that either. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes 1 drink per day for women and, sorry ladies, 2 drinks for men. This is the recommended safe amount to consume AND there are even some health benefits to drinking in moderation too. Benefits include anti-cancer (wine contains a high amount of antioxidants) and lowering blood pressure.

Bottom line, alcohol helps increase the quality of life. It brings people together, helps you relax or unwind, and gives most of us something to look forward to. As long as you can drink responsibly or in moderation, and it doesn’t lead to a pizza delivery at 3 o’clock in the morning too often, your health and weight should not be affected.

Here are some more quick suggestions to control alcohol intake:

1) For every 1 glass of alcohol, consume 1 glass (8 ounces) of water and keep alternating back and forth to pace yourself and stay hydrated.

2) Don’t drink on an empty stomach to avoid getting sick.

3) If you’re hungry after a night out of drinking that’s fine just make sure your alter ego, the one that comes out when you drink, doesn’t influence you to over-eat.

4) Avoid having more than the guidelines for drinking alcohol, except for special occasions and rare celebrations.

5) Stick with light beers, vodka and club soda, or less sweet wines for calorie control.

Nick VanMeter