Beer, wine, ALCOHOL! Did I get your attention ;)
Continued Covid lock downs. Summer is coming. Unwinding after a hectic work day or week, a few reasons we reach for or crave an alcoholic beverage.
No matter what our health or fitness goal is, alcohol plays a large role especially in weight management. Anyone working towards decreasing body fat may want to consider passing on that glass of wine or beer.
Here are ways alcohol can prevent you from achieving your health goal;
- Alcoholic drinks are often referred to as “empty” calories. This means that they provide your body with calories but contain very little nutrients. A night out with drinks can lead to consuming hundreds of extra calories. Drinks that have mixers, like fruit juice or soda, contain even more calories.
- When you drink alcohol, your body recognizes it as a foreign substance and wants to get rid or metabolize it first. Alcohol is used first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else. This includes glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats. When your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess glucose and lipids end up as fat.
- Our livers job is to filter any foreign substances that enters your body, in this case alcohol. But, the liver (like most of us hard working women) wears many hats in its job and also plays a role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. So if the liver is working hard to clean up an emergency mess, it can affect the way your body metabolizes and stores carbohydrates and fats. Changes in the way your body stores energy from food can make it very difficult to lose weight.
- Alcohol can lead to poor decision making. Especially when it comes to food choices. Our self control is further challenged and its harder to keep our health goal at the front of our minds. Alcohol can trigger hunger cells to the brain, making you feel hungry when you’re not. Also, I’m not sure about you but I don’t usually reach for an apple or banana after a few drinks. Its usually foods higher in simple carbs or fats and low in nutrients.
- Alcohol can negatively affect your sleep, and we NEED sleep!! We need sleep to show up for our jobs and our business everyday, to recover from that workout that we did and give our body and mind the rest that it deserves.
Here’s the thing, and “the thing” being the reality. We don’t believe in fully restricting any one food or in this case drink. Why? Because we believe that reaching your optimal health goal needs to also incorporate and reflect your real life and for most of us alcohol is a reality in our adult life.
So if you do choose to have a drink after a crazy work week, here are the tools to track:
When it comes to calories, alcohol has 7 calories per 1 gram. This is very dense compared to the 3 main macronutrients:
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories
For alcohol intake we can choose to track them as carbs and/or fats. NEVER track as protein, that’s cheating.
If you’re having a mixed drink that already has carbs and fats in it, track that first. Then for the alcohol, lets get out our calculators or pencil and paper and do the math:
To track as carbs: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic drink and then divide by 4
To track as fats: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic drink and then divide by 9
Ex. If a drink has 200 calories:
Carbs 200/4 = 50g of Carbs
Fats 200/9 = 22.2g of Fat
*or to balance between carbs and fats: split between the two.
100/4 = 25g of carbs
100/9 = 11.1g of fats
So, moral of the story. Equip yourself with the tools and do what works for you! Make sure your action aligns with your goal and go after it. Oh, and also cheers!