by: Will Power
Alcohol is the most readily used and abused drug in the United States today. In some circles, alcohol is referred to as a food and a drug because of its calorically dense nature. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, almost twice that of both carbohydrates and protein. Alcoholic calories are considered “empty” calories because they only contain negligible amount of vitamins and nutrients. In fact, alcohol is considered and anti-nutrient because of its interference in the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. This interference causes a disruption in the metabolism of both carbohydrates and fat in the body. Alcohol inhibits the production of the enzyme that helps break down fat in the body thereby ceasing your fat burning process for a significant period of time. Note that often times when consuming alcohol, you also consume fatty foods that deliver fat to the body that now, post alcohol intake, will not be broken down. If fat cant be broken down and used directly after ingestion, it is automatically stored until it can be used. In addition to that, this excess storage of fat can stress the liver causing the body to over use and deplete its glycogen (sugar) levels. Over time with chronic drinking, the body will develop a strong tendency to store body fat at all times in an adaptation to the alcohol’s stress the liver. This is a big contraindicator for anyone looking to trim down or lean up.
In terms of alcoholic beverages, I managed to narrow down a list of some of the top alcohols guaranteed to make you fat over time. Ill start with one of the top dogs, “The Devil’s Advocate” as I call it:
Long Island Iced Tea (9oz) (on average 543 cals) – a mix of 5 different alcohols, Sweet and Sour Mix and Coke. It may look like tea but mind you a long island iced tea made the right way can have as many calories in one glass a McDonald’s Big Mac. That’s right every time you suck down a Long Island you are consuming calories close to that of one of the fattiest fast foods in America…so yea…bottoms up buddy. Through the teeth, over the gums, watch out waistline, here it comes!
Mai Tai (9oz) (620 cals) – a mix of Light Rum, Dark Rum, Crème de Almond, Sweet and Sour Mix and Pineapple Juice. This little guy right here will run you the same caloric overdose as a Wendy’s Double Cheeseburger.
Mud Slide (6oz) (560 cals) – Vodka, Kahlua, Baily’s Irish Cream, Half and Half. That’s two slices of Pizza right there…per glass…Im just saying…PER…GLASS…
Piña Colada (12oz) (590 cals) – Rum, Coconut Cream, Pineapple Juice. This is about 100 cals MORE than a McDonald’s large fries.
Mararita (10oz) (550 cals) – Tequila, Margarita/Sour Mix, Triple Sec, Lime Juice, 1tbsp Sugar. Equivalent to a Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla. Enough said.
*Side Note – Just to add further perspective, the average 150 pound person would have to jog for about 30 minutes to burn about 300 cals.
Frankly, for all of you who have weight loss goals but like to “indulge a little” (usually meaning a lot) while enjoying the night life, just understand what you are doing and just how much of your hard work you’re throwing away. These are just a few drinks out of thousands of alcoholic beverages that do a great job of pushing people farther and farther away from their weight loss goals. Please understand, this article is not intended to make anyone stop drinking, that’s a personal battle everyone has to take up with themselves. This post is merely to help those who don’t know to realize exactly what they’re doing to their bodies and their goals when they drink.
For those who feel that cutting out alcohol is simply out of the question, there are a few ways you can lessen the effects alcohol has on you and your long term weight loss goals. First off be cognizant of what and how much you are drinking. Research the calorie content of your favorite drinks. This alone my convince you to find substitutions for higher calorie drinks. Secondly, having water between drinks can help prevent you from drinking too much, can help prolong drunkenness and can keep you hydrated which can help avoid that next day hangover. Thirdly, know your own weaknesses. If you know you overdrink in certain situations, be prepared. At least eat a healthy snack before hand to avoid drinking on an empty stomach (which expedites intoxication). Fourthly, keep your goals in mind. Think about how much work you will have to do to burn off the cals in that refill. Is one more drink worth a 30 min jog?! Lastly, avoid high calorie drinks. Typically, drinks that include mixers like Sweet and Sour Mix, juice or club soda will have more calories.
The key is to remember that alcohol, like everything else, should be consumed in moderation. Moderation is the key when, or should I say if, it comes to enjoying cocktails while watching your weight. Treat alcohol the same way you treat other things in your diet – as something you can enjoy from time to time without going overboard.