Hidden Calories in Alcohol: Guide to Healthier Drinking Habits
Are you aware of the hidden calories lurking in your favourite alcoholic beverages? Have you ever considered the impact these might have on your health and well-being? In this enlightening blog post, we delve into the often overlooked aspect of alcohol consumption – the hidden calories in alcohol.
Drawing insights from the me&my health up podcast, where host and clinical nutritionist Anthony Hartcher discusses the hidden calories in alcohol, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the impact of these calories on your health.
From the surprising caloric content of your favourite drinks to the domino effect of regular alcohol consumption on your health, this blog post will take you on an eye-opening journey. We also share practical strategies to manage your alcohol consumption and avoid falling into the trap of alcohol addiction.
So, if you’re keen on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying your social life, this blog post is a must-read. Let’s embark on this journey to better health together.
Watch the full video of the podcast episode here:
The Hidden Calories in Alcohol
Imagine this: you’re enjoying two standard drinks per day, equivalent to two cans of beer or 285ml of beer with an alcohol strength of 4.8%. Over a year, this seemingly harmless habit can add up to an astonishing 51,100 extra calories. That’s the equivalent of an additional 8.3 kilograms of body weight if these calories aren’t burned off!
Alcohol: More Than Just Empty Calories
Alcohol is more than just empty calories. Your body sees it as a toxin, with no use other than to extract energy from it and then excrete it. A gram of alcohol contains seven calories per gram, which is close to the caloric content of a gram of fat (nine calories).
For example, a standard drink of beer, equivalent to around 285ml, contains 1.1 standard drinks or 11 grams of pure alcohol. This equates to 77 calories. Wine, with a higher alcohol percentage of around 11-13%, contains roughly 70 calories per standard drink (100ml). Spirits, at 40% alcohol by volume, also contain about 70 calories per standard drink (30ml).
The Domino Effect of Regular Alcohol Consumption
The Caloric Impact of Regular Alcohol Consumption
Regular alcohol consumption can significantly contribute to your daily caloric intake. For instance, consuming two standard drinks every night after work for a whole year can add up to 75,000 extra calories.
This is equivalent to an additional 19.3 kilograms of body weight if these calories are not burned off through physical activity. Even consuming a third of a bottle of wine or two standard bar pours (150ml each) per day could lead to a weight gain of around six kilograms per year.
Alcohol and Sleep Disruption
Alcohol consumption can disrupt your sleep patterns, affecting both restorative sleep and REM sleep. This can lead to less physical rejuvenation and emotional wellbeing the following day. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can result in an additional intake of around 200 to 300 calories the next day, contributing to a caloric surplus and potential weight gain.
The Cycle of Alcohol Consumption and Irrational Eating
Alcohol consumption can inhibit rational thinking and increase the desire for food, often leading to the consumption of high-calorie foods. This irrational eating, combined with the extra caloric intake from alcohol, can contribute to significant weight gain over time.
Alcohol as a Diuretic: The Nutrient Depletion Effect
Alcohol acts as a diuretic, leading to more frequent urination and potential dehydration. This process also flushes out essential minerals and water-soluble vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C from the body. The body also uses up more zinc and vitamin B3 to break down alcohol, which can lead to deficiencies over time. These deficiencies can impact immune function and mental health, and contribute to poor emotional regulation the next day.
Practical Strategies to Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Changing Routines Involving Alcohol
Changing routines that involve alcohol can be an effective strategy to reduce alcohol consumption. Instead of going to the pub after work, consider engaging in healthier activities like exercise or socialising in non-alcohol related settings.
Tips for Drinking Less
If you want to drink less, consider not participating in rounds, drinking water between alcoholic drinks, eating before going out, and volunteering to be the designated driver. These strategies can help you control your alcohol intake and reduce its impact on your health.
The Benefits of Light Beer
Drinking light beer can be a healthier alternative to regular beer. Light beer typically contains fewer calories and lower alcohol content than regular beer, making it a better choice for those who want to reduce their alcohol and caloric intake.
Seeking Professional Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek professional help. This could involve seeking help from a psychologist, or a trained facilitator, or joining support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. These resources can provide the support and guidance you need to overcome your addiction.
Self-Reflection and Understanding Personal Values
Self-reflection and understanding your personal values can play a crucial role in overcoming alcohol consumption habits. By reflecting on why you drink alcohol and understanding the benefits and disservices of your drinking habits, you can find healthier ways to achieve these benefits that don’t involve alcohol.
Journaling and reflecting on your alcohol consumption habits, understanding your triggers, and finding healthier ways to cope with these triggers can help you address the root cause of your alcohol consumption and break the addiction.
Understanding the caloric content of alcohol and its impact on your health is crucial for managing your alcohol consumption effectively. By making informed choices and seeking help when needed, you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle while still enjoying your favourite beverages in moderation.
Remember, it’s not about completely eliminating alcohol from your life, but rather about understanding its impact and making conscious decisions that align with your health and wellness goals.
Discover a Healthier You with me&my wellness
While understanding the hidden calories in alcohol is a significant step towards a healthier lifestyle, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Achieving your health and wellness goals often requires a holistic approach, one that considers all aspects of your lifestyle, from diet and exercise to stress management and sleep habits.
At me&my wellness, we understand that everyone’s health journey is unique. That’s why we offer holistic health coaching that’s tailored to your individual needs and goals. Ready to start your journey towards a healthier you? Book a consultation with us today and discover the difference a holistic approach to health and wellness can make.