So often I read stories on Weight Watchers social media Connect, stories how someone went off the rails with their diet by drinking alcoholic drinks. It seems the common thread is there will be a defiant post of “I have the points, I’m going to enjoy some drinks” or “I had a rough week, I deserve to have a drink”. That is all fine and dandy, except the next common theme is the follow on of “I binged and now I have gained back the pounds I lost the pevious week”.
If you are serious about your weight loss goals, and lack the discipline to be moderate enough in your drinking to not affect your weight loss, then I would highly recommend you rethink the alcoholic drinks until you have met your goals. If you lack personal discipline with adult beverages, your chance of successfully getting the body you want is going to be an uphill battle much the same as struggled by Sisyphus who was condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again every time he got it to the summit.
Carbs in Alcoholic Drinks
Anyone who has folowed me for any length of time knows already that I do not consume any simple carbs or refined sugar. And that I promote a diet high in protein and low in complex carbs. I aim for about 130 grams of complex carbs a day with a minumum of 100 grams and a maximum of 150 grams. I only consume complex carbohydrates as they are starches and fiber which do not cause drastic fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin. Nor do complex carbs cause cravings such as that caused by simple carbs. Here is where we get into the problems of alcoholic beverages and weight loss; unless you are drinking straight spirits, you are consuming simple carbs which can and will derail your weight loss objectives. Another consideration of alcohol consumption is once your inhibitions have come down, when your “Give a damn” has broken, then you are going to be much more likely to each crap food, especially if you are with a group of family or friends. Next thing you know, it is your weigh in day and you are feeling the remorse of gaining weight or skipping your weigh in because you do not need the scale to tell you what your pants told you when sliding them on first thing in the morning.
Here is a compilation of the carbs you will find in alcoholic drinks:
- Beer will run from 1.9g to 14g per 12 oz depending on the type. A light beer is lower in carbs than a Porter or Stout
- Wine will run anywhere from 3g to 7.8 grams per 5 ounce serving.
- Sweet Liquers, run from 7 grams to upwards of 27 grams for a one ounce serving of Jaegermeister.
- Spirits, are low to zero in carbs, but you will hurt yourself with mixers.
- Cocktails. Just don’t…They are mixed with sugar syrups, high sugar juices, soda pop, and or other high sugar liquers.
Alcohol contains empty calories and has no nutritional value. Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it right away. Metabolizing alcohol, however, can have a detrimental effect on other metabolic processes. Here’s what you should know about alcohol and your metabolism.
Alcohol and Nutrition
Alcohol contains only empty calories and has no nutritional value. It can often contribute to malnutrition because the high levels of calories in most alcoholic drinks can account for a large percentage of your daily energy requirements. Even one alcoholic drink a day can contribute to malnutrition.
Your body can’t store alcohol, so it must metabolize it right away. When you drink alcohol, your body makes metabolizing it a priority over all other metabolic processes. Your body sends alcohol to the liver, which produces the enzymes necessary for the oxidation and metabolism of alcohol.
Not only does alcohol not contain any nutrients of its own, but it can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat. Alcohol irritates your gastrointestinal tract, and can damage your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.
Alcohol and Blood Sugar
Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels is one of the key functions of your metabolism, but when you drink alcohol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the first elements of metabolism to be shoved aside in your body’s rush to excrete the toxins as efficiently as possible. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose and to maintain healthy levels of glucose (or blood sugar) in the blood. Over time, heavy drinkers develop glucose intolerance and can even become diabetic.
Even occasional alcohol consumption can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. That’s why drinking alcohol can be very dangerous for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
Alcohol Can Cause Weight Gain
Because your body can’t store alcohol and must metabolize it right away, other metabolic processes suffer. Your body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol, and drinking heavily can cause your metabolism to slow. This can contribute to weight gain, as can the empty calories found in alcohol.
If you have regrets about weight gain every time you consume alcohol, be sure to choose wisely how you decide to unwind and or celebrate with family and friends. Ask yourself if the aggravation of seeing a rise on the scale is worth a temporary buzz that will not last as long as it takes for you to drop those few pounds again.