Years ago, I read an article in a lay journal about alcohol’s effect on body weight. It mentioned three ways by which drinking alcohol affects weight gain.
First, it is a load of empty calories, which means a small amount has a lot of calories that our bodies prefer not to use in a healthful way. That is, it’s neither a protein for muscle building, a fat for protecting cell membranes or providing fat soluble vitamins, nor a carbohydrate for its flavors, nutrients or bulk. A typical drink – 4-5 oz wine or a shot of liquor – is 110-140 calories, useful only for quick energy and a buzz.
Second, alcohol, if ignited, burns fast. As such, if you have a drink your body will use it for fuel first, before it breaks down the other foods you eat for nutrients and energy. After you burn off the alcohol, much like a fancy alcohol-inflamed dessert, your body, satisfied with the calories, stores the food you ate while drinking as fat…body fat.
Finally, as a recent study shows (see link below) drinking disinhibits you. It reduces your self-control when it comes to portion control or maybe even food choices. Just as it may make that woman or man at the bar look a lot more attractive, it may make the cookies more attractive and the broccoli more ugly.
- First, have a bite to eat of foods you enjoy that are also healthful BEFORE you go to the event.
- Second, drink a large glass of water or low-calorie flavored beverage BEFORE you to to the event.
- And, finally, drink a glass of water before and after each alcoholic drink so you are not thirsty…and so you have to go to the bathroom more frequently.