Alcohol and weight loss?

April 22, 2011 |  by  |  Healthy Eating

If you’re watching your waistline, monitoring your calories is a must, but are you paying attention to all the calories you take in? You may naturally pay attention to the calories you eat, but what about the calories you drink? Energy drinks, juice and smoothies can add extra calories, but alcohol can really pack a wallop, especially when you aren’t sure exactly how many calories you’re drinking. If cocktails are a regular part of your diet and you’re trying to lose weight, being more aware of what and how much you drink can make a difference.

If you’re a moderate drinker, which is defined as two drinks a day for men or one drink a day for women, some studies have found possible health benefits such as:

Reduced risk of developing heart disease
Reduced risk of ischemic stroke
Lower risk of dying of a heart attack
Lower risk of developing diabetes

Of course, there are other ways to achieve all of these things without tipping a glass – exercise, for one, and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet. While there may be some health benefits to moderate drinking, there are some drawbacks as well, starting with your waistline.

How Alcohol Can Pack on the Pounds

1. Added Calories
One of the obvious side effects of alcohol is that it adds calories to your diet. While many of us have a handle on the calories we eat, we often don’t know how many calories are in our drinks.

While alcohol doesn’t contain fat, it does contain 7 calories per gram. That’s more than protein and carbs, both of which contain 4 calories per gram. To get an idea of what you’re drinking, check out this brief list of common cocktails. Does your favorite drink have more calories than you thought?

1 can (12 oz) Beer – 135-145 calories
1 can (12 oz) Light Beer – 101 calories
1 glass (3.5 oz) Red or White Wine – 70-75 calories
1 shot (1.5 oz) Gin, rum, vodka or whiskey – 97 calories
1 glass (6 oz) Cosmopolitan – 143 calories
1 glass (4.5 oz) Pina colada – 262 calories
1 glass (2.2 oz) Martini – 135 calories

A couple of beers can easily add more than 300 calories to your diet, the equivalent of 30 minutes of jogging for a 150-lb person. Having a few drinks after a workout may end up undoing all that hard work.

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About the author

Mother of three, Athlete & Business Woman. Lover of clean lines in everything from furniture to web design and future yogi and vegetarian in the making!
Currently enjoying the journey from "mother of three body" back to pre-pregnancy fit! No more sugar, fast food or late night binges.



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