One of the biggest dilemma’s that all my friends go through while trying to lose weight is giving up on their drinking. Drinking its just a part of everyone’s social life and you should NOT sacrificeyour social activities to be able to live a healthy life. The key is moderation. But before we get into what should we drink, lets look at how alcohol works to really understand how it could affect or weight loss journey.
You already know that there are three types of macronutrients: Proteins, Carbs, and Fats, and that we need all of them in order to stay healthy. Well alcohol doesnt belong to any of those groups, the reason it doesn't its because when alcohol (etanol) is made, it actually has Little to no nutritional calorie, and thats why its said that alcohol has “empty calories”. They are called empty not because they dont count, but because they are absolutely useless to your body. Being that said, alcohol is still a big contributor to calorie intake, it is actually equivalent to 7 calories per gram of alcohol ingested.
What really happens in our bodies after we consume alcohol?
When alcohol enters your body, it goes through this little path, ends up in your small intestine and the goes straight to your liver because thats where the enzymes are that help metabolize (converting what eat into energy) alcohol. Now what else is metabolized in the liver? Fat. Carbs. Proteins.
The body is very smart and detects this empty calories and toxins and realices that it needs to get rid of them fast. Alcohol becomes the priority.
So whats the problem if its usingthose calories it as energy?
Well, if you eat more calories than you are burning (which most likely you will on a night out), your body will store the excess as fat. By the time your body is done using all those drinks as energy, it might not get to using those food calories and therefore those will get stored as fat. It all comes down to the amount of calories ingested, and since alcohol drinks are high in calories, your total expenditure is probably less than that ingested- ending up in weight gain. In addition, alcohol makes you hungry! It is actually scientifically shown that alcohol increases your appetite by spressing leptine (the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating!)Thats why everytime you go out drinking, you end up at the neighborhood pizza joint getting in those extra pounds! A study in the UK actually showed that on average women consume over 1,000 calories on alcohol ALONE. Now, add those pizza slices.
What we recommend?
1. Eat before you drink. Eating a healthy meal, rich in protein, veggies and fats before drinking, will make your alcohol absorption slower.
2. Limit yourself. Two drinks a night is enough to get you buzz going and not make a huge impact on your diet plan.
3. Go for lower calorie options... this means No Margaritas! The best options are vodka soda with lime, red wine, champagne. Also, the fizz in soda and champagne will make you fuller, and hopefully you will drink less.
Below is an amazing info graphic that should help you find the "healthiest" drink option.