YES – alcohol DOES have calories!
Well, Memorial Day is over and it’s officially summer! 😎
Staying hydrated in the heat is a must (and by hydrated, I mean WATER)! Summer is a time where people tend to loosen up about their alcohol consumption and can sometimes get carried away. I am in no way shaming anyone for having a happy hour cocktail or wine with dinner – but I do think it’s important that everyone understands that alcohol = calories and that’s important to know, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Ethanol = the science-y word for alcohol is nutrient dense (providing 7 calories for every 1 gram) but it is NOT an essential nutrient, leading to the use of the term “empty calories”. Did you know that fat has 9 calories per gram? That means that alcohol is almost as dense as fat. Did you know that??
When you drink alcohol, the ethanol is absorbed through your GI tract (food in the GI tract will definitely alter the absorption rate) and then sent to the liver. The liver cannot metabolize it all (about 90%) so the rest goes back out into your blood stream.
The standard “one drink” as about 15 grams of alcohol (one 12 ounce beer, one 5 oz glass of wine, 1.5 oz distilled alcohol). Let’s do the math. 15 grams x 7 calories per gram = 105 calories. And that’s JUST for the alcohol nutrition. If there are other additives in the drink (carbs, fat, etc), then the calories just keep adding up.
See how your drink stacks up
Take a look at this chart from Cosmopolitan.com. I was trying so hard to find an evidenced-based chart to share, but wasn’t having any luck so here is this one. Try to use it as a guide and not like the Bible, but their math checks out. Check out how many calories are in 1.5 ounces of whiskey – it’s the same 105 calories we calculated above)
Weight occurs when calories in <calories out, right? Alcohol can be tricky because people sometimes don’t associate drinks with calories. So while you just finished your second whiskey sour, you have ingested almost 500 calories and are most likely over your recommended caloric intake for the day.
Also, I don’t know about you, but I tend to overeat or eat horrible foods when I’ve been drinking. Wings, nachos, pizza – it all goes down a bit smoother when alcohol is involved. So it’s time to be a bit more mindful of the calories going into your body. I like to say “make your calories work FOR you!”.
Alcohol affects your body in many different ways – that is another post topic for another day. The point of sharing this photo is for you to see how you can deter your weight loss efforts in just 2 margaritas. The general rule of thumb is the more you add to your alcohol, the more calories there will be. So my advice to you is to drink with caution because those calories can add up – fast!