We all have social commitments, whether it be an engagement party, a birthday party or a work party where the alcohol is flowing, but will social drinking really affect your weight loss journey? You may have already answered that question in your own mind, but let’s delve a little deeper and look at the calories in alcohol, the impact of alcohol on our bodies and the right choices to make when it comes to a little tipple.
Social drinking and making the right choices
Here at PGPT we aren’t drill sergeants we understand that there are times when you will have a drink, all we ask is that you make the right choices when it comes to alcohol. For example: – a pint of Guinness contains 220kcals where as a bottle of beer has 140kcals. So pick a bottle of lower strength beer over a pint. A single Gin and Tonic contains 56kcals, whereas a Jack Daniels and Coke is 139kcals. Drinking two Gin and Tonics can reduce your calorie intake by 166kcals in one night over drinking a dark spirit with a Coke. The figures speak for themselves, so opt for a clear spirit and a slim line tonic.
Alcohol and weight gain
So why does alcohol hinder our weight loss? Well, not only is it full of empty calories with no nutritional value, it is also one of the first things to be metabolised by our bodies…even before fat! Our bodies cannot store alcohol so it metabolises it right away. This means that other fats and sugars are put on a back burner and stored in our bodies, adding to a constant gain in weight and in theory slowing down our bodies fat burning ability over time.
Alcohol also contains 7kcals per gram compared to carbohydrates which contain 4kcals in every gram. That means alcohol contains just 2kcals less per gram than pure fat!
Effects of alcohol on the body
You only have to google this subject to see the devastating effects alcohol can have on people’s lives and we all know that alcohol has many adverse effects on our bodies whether it be physical or mental, although most of these are related to excessive drinking, so we won’t touch on these.
Social drinking can still wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels when it is consumed, even in small quantities. When we drink alcohol, insulin is produced, in order to lower the steep rise in blood sugars. An overproduction in insulin can actually lead to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar.) Alcohol also attacks our vitamin and mineral stores; we require these to be at the correct balance in order for our bodies to function normally. Regular or excessive drinking can really can cause an instability in your hormone levels which need to be released at the right time, to the correct tissues in our bodies. Alcohol can impair the functions of the glands that produce and release hormones.
Of course it is normal to have a social drink and I know that most people enjoy it, just make sure you’re aware of the amount that you’re drinking. For every alcoholic drink you buy, get a bottle or glass of water. Sip your Gin and Tonic, then your water before buying another. We all know that drinks are often accompanied by snacks. But don’t go for traditional bar snacks likes crisps or salted peanuts, think out of the box and get some olives, feta cheese or sundried tomatoes.