We as humans have a very special relationship with alcohol – from hiding it from our parents and drinking copious amounts of it as teenagers, to drunken parties in college and finally to celebrating special occasions, 80% of us drink alcohol. And even when alcohol leaves us swearing we’ll never have another drink for as long as we live (like my experience has been with tequila every single time), somehow we still come back to it as the drug of choice.
But, while alcohol can be pretty amazing, when it comes to weight loss there’s nothing amazing about it. In fact, it can work against you altogether. So, without any further a-do, here are three fatcs you need to know about alcohol.
Facts about alcohol: It has no nutrients
Let’s review the things your body needs to survive:
Oops – looks like alcohol didn’t make the list!
We get all the nutrients above from consuming meats and alternatives, dairy, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. These foods are awesome for our health and keep our system operating properly. They provide us with nourishment which our bodies can use to generate energy, keep our metabolism going, and ultimately keep us alive.
Alcohol contains zero nutrients. So when you’re drinking, you’re pretty much taking in calories which are NOT nourishing your body, and contribute nothing to keeping you alive. Alcohol has nothing to offer when it comes to nutrition.
Facts about alcohol: It has a ton of calories (and other crap)
Alcohol may not have any nutrients, but there is one thing that it does come packed with: calories! And tons of them! Here are some fun numbers about various drinks and how many calories they contain:
- Beer (350mL) – 150 calories
- 5oz glass of wine – 120 calories
- A shot of a distilled spirit – 98-165 calories
- Cosmopolitan – 146 calories
- Mojito – 143 calories
I also found this fun alcohol calories calculator which allows you to determine how many calories from alcohol you could be taking in during a typical week. Give it a try -I plugged in some numbers just for fun:
So with 4 beers and 2 glasses of wine (which is really not a lot for anyone’s typical week), I’m already taking in at least 850 calories per week which are contributing nothing to keeping me alive (except to maybe help drown my sorrows). Just to remind you, a typical human consumes ~2000 calories per day. So that’s roughly half of my one day’s worth of caloric intake. Wonderful.
There’s more. Apart from calories, cocktails and other mixed drinks also have other fun ingredients like sugar, syrups and artificial flavours. If the calories weren’t enough now your body has to metabolize all this other crap.
Facts about alcohol: It puts a strain on your liver
This one is pretty obvious – but still forgotten about because we associate liver damage with the chronic drinkers. Well, it seems like slow and steady wins the race in this regard. And by “wins the race” I mean “destroys your liver”.
Here is an fun excerpt from the Canadian Liver Foundation:
“When the liver has too much alcohol to handle, normal liver function may be interrupted leading to a chemical imbalance. If the liver is required to detoxify alcohol continuously, liver cells may be destroyed or altered resulting in fat deposits (fatty liver), and more seriously, either inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis), and/or permanent scarring (cirrhosis).
When a person has a drink, the alcohol is absorbed directly through the wall of the stomach and intestine into the bloodstream, where it is distributed rapidly throughout the body. The alcohol changes the function of each cell that it enters. The liver processes everything a person ingests, including alcohol. Only a certain quantity of alcohol can be detoxified over a period of time. In the meantime, excess alcohol affects the brain, heart, muscles and other tissues of the body.”
Ok, I know y’all going to call me a party pooper, and call me boring as heck. Sorry for raining on your parade, but it’s important to know some things!
Now – I’m not saying you should never drink alcohol – God knows I do. It’s fun, and makes for great social gatherings (and memories!). No good story ever started with “let’s have a glass of milk” – however I can tell you some great stories that started with “TEQUILA SHOTS!!!!!”
What I’m saying is you should be aware of the detrimental effects alcohol can have on your body – and especially on your weight loss – if that is a goal of yours. Here’s where you can start: track the number of drinks you are having each week, just for fun, and if the number surprises you perhaps this should be one area where you need to pay special attention.
Overall, reducing your alcohol intake is a sensible thing to do.
Pop quiz! What should be everyone’s beverage of choice?
And there, my friends, is where I will leave it at 🙂
After being skinny unfit for the majority of my life, I discovered fitness by accident once I became a mom and started working out with my husband. A couple of years later, I started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals and couples juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active.
My mission is to teach people about fitness and work with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes. My personal values include being professional, honest and transparent in all of my doings but also being funny and silly because that’s what makes life (and your training sessions) fun!
Every day I hear from tons of couples who are dying to get more active but they just need that extra push! Getting people started on a fitness program is what I love to do. Check out my personal training packages and share your story with me so I can help you reach your fitness goals!