Posted on | April 13, 2011 | 1 Comment
Do you enjoy the ‘occasional’ drink? Like most of us out there the answer is yes… Just be aware, if you drink it – there are consequences!
Let’s take a look at Champagne – one of the lowest calories alcoholic beverage options!
Calories in Champagne (120 ml)
- Energy: 90 calories
- Protein: 0 g
- Carbs: 1.2 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Alcohol: 11 g
Weight gain: Studies have shown that regular alcohol consumption promotes fat storage and weight gain. Ouch…. The facts are that alcohol contains empty calories (energy) and provides the body with no nutrition just ethanol, sugar and calories.
That’s also not factoring in the post-drinking hangover in which we lie in bed all day and eat fried / unhealthy foods!
What happens to alcohol in your body:
When you drink, the alcohol is absorbed via the stomach and small intestine. (Food slows down the rate of absorption – which is why you get drunk faster on an empty stomach). Alcohol is distributed via the bloodstream, reaching your heart, brain, muscles and other tissues within a few minutes. (This is typically the fun bit)
Your body can’t store alcohol, so it has to get rid of it – mostly via your liver. First, the liver coverts alcohol into acetaldehyde (a highly toxic substance) which then turns into acetate (a harmless substance) that is passed out in the urine. Some alcohol is also excreted through the breath and sweat.
Some things you may not know:
- Your body’s ability to process alcohol depends on your age, weight and sex.
- Your body breaks down alcohol at a rate of about one standard drink per hour
- Drinks that have an alcohol level of more than 20% stay in the stomach longer than lower level alcohol
- The quantity of alcohol in the blood is expressed in per mill. A per mill of 0.5 means that 1 milliliter (cc) of blood contains half a milligram of pure alcohol. Someone who weighs a lot has more body fluids than someone who weighs less. So a lighter person notices more of the same number of glasses of alcohol than a heavier person.
- Men vs Women: The body of a woman contains on average less body fluids per kilo than a man. So a woman will get a higher blood alcohol level faster than a man
- Women digest a smaller part of the alcohol in the body!
Social drinking is a part of life for most. So what you can do to stay healthy & wise about your choices:
- Choose champagne / wine as they contain lower amounts of calories.
- Choose spirits and mix with soda water / water / sugar-free / diet
- Do no mix spirits with orange juice or full calories drinks such coke, sprite, fanta
- Avoid cocktails as they contain double alcohol, double sweetness and double calories
- Drink 1 glass of water between drinks
- My personal drink of choice when I go out is Vodka, Soda Water with fresh lime/mint. It only contains about 65 calories. It’s very refreshing, not sweet at all and health conscious so I can still have a life, socialise with friends but not completely blow the healthy eating goals.
Study: The Effect of Ethanol on Fat Storage in Healthy Subjects. Paolo M. Suter, M.D., M.S., Yves Schutz, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Eric Jequier, M.D. N Engl J Med 1992; 326:983-987 April 9, 1992.
Conclusion: Ethanol, either added to the diet or substituted for other foods, increases 24-hour energy expenditure and decreases lipid oxidation. Habitual consumption of ethanol in excess of energy needs probably favors lipid storage and weight gain. (N Engl J Med 1992;326: 983–7.)