Alcohol and its Effect on Weight Management
By Julia DeLissio
Worcester Fitness Nutritionist and Personal Trainer
“My goal is to integrate nutrition and exercise science through a multi-disciplinary approach by backing up information with current scientific research. I believe that food is fuel and the human body is the vehicle to create motion. In order for this vehicle to run, it must be given the appropriate energy (calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water) to create movement.”
“Although consuming alcohol can be a lot of fun, overconsuming it can completely abolish your health and fitness goals. “
Everybody has heard of the classic term “beer belly”, right? Curiously, how much weight does that term actually hold?
Most Americans enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages. It is celebratory, refreshing, and gives us a feel good energy that allows us to chat our way through even the most boring events. We drink at weddings, family gatherings, birthdays, graduations, etc. Over time, all of this consumption can add up, especially if you find yourself frequently reaching for a cold one after a stressful day at work. Although consuming alcohol can be a lot of fun, overconsuming it can completely abolish your health and fitness goals.
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, meaning your average shot of liquor will contain ~100 calories. If you add in mixers such as sodas or juices, the caloric impact increases even more.
Of course 1 drink wouldn’t be a large dietary detriment, however many drinks can be. Alcohol does not contain any essential nutrients. It does not come alongside fiber, vitamins, minerals, or hydration. What it does do is it takes priority metabolically- meaning alcohol is always absorbed before food, which can lead to perceived feelings of hunger when tipsy or drunk, even if food has been consumed.
Alcohol makes you hungry, is dehydrating (so it makes you thirstier), acts as excess/ empty calories, and interferes with the metabolism of micronutrients- your vitamins and minerals. Basically, alcohol is not good for much else outside of enjoying a barbeque or watching the game with your friends!
Listed below are some common forms of alcohol and the calories associated with them. Calories do not mean everything, however, having a large amount of alcohol can rack up calories without offering any vitamins, minerals, or nutrients.
|Beer (light)||12 oz (355 ml)||103|
|Beer (regular)||12 oz (355 ml)||153|
|Beer (higher alcohol, craft beers)||12 oz (355 ml)||170 to 350|
|Gin/ Most liquors (80 proof)||1.5 oz (45 ml)||97|
|Bloody Mary||4.6 oz (136 ml)||120|
|Chocolate martini||2.5 oz (74 ml)||418|
|Cosmopolitan||2.75 oz (81 ml)||146|
|Daiquiri||2.7 oz (80 ml)||137|
|Hot buttered rum||8 oz (235 ml)||292|
|Mai Tai||4.9 oz (145 ml)||306|
|Mimosa||4 oz (120 ml)||75|
|Mint Julep||4.5 oz (135 ml)||165|
|Mojito||6 oz (177 ml)||143|
|Pina colada||6.8 oz (200 ml)||526|
|Rum and Coke||8 oz (235 ml)||185|
|Tequila sunrise||6.8 oz (200 ml)||232|
List adapted from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000886.htm
If youre looking to enjoy alcohol this summer in a goal friendly way, we at Worcester fitness would recommend lighter beers and mixing your liquor with 1-2 ounces of fruit juices (cranberry, orange, etc) over simple syrups and sodas. As you can see, a shot of liquor is much less calories as opposed to a chocolate martini and a tequila sunrise. If you know you are drinking in a day, make sure you have something nutrient dense before you drink. Alcohol is void of nutrition, therefore a nice summer salad with berries, chicken, nuts, and seeds would be a nice option prior to a night out!
Also, if possible, try to eat something healthy after. Most people are so hungry after a night of drinking that they go for pizza, wings, burgers, or something easy and satisfying.
If possible, prepare a meal to have in the fridge for after you eat to enjoy life in a goal friendly way!