For some people, surviving the holidays means drinking their cares away, or celebrating every event with an alcoholic beverage. But that plan can actually work against you. Having a drink or two with family and friends is fine, but if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, you can easily drink as many calories as you eat.
Alcoholic drinks are energy dense, with each beverage providing your body with huge load of empty calories. In addition to the high calorie content, alcohol also wreaks havoc with our bodies’ normal processes of energy metabolism and nutrient absorption. Unlike the other nutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fat, our body cannot store alcohol. After ingestion of alcohol the body makes it its top priority to remove it, taking preference over normal functions. This can result in an interruption of the fat burning process, giving extra potential for weight gain. The more you drink the longer it takes for your body to process the alcohol and further delaying the fat burning process. Did you know your liver can only process 1 standard drink, or 10g alcohol ever hour? Every time you drink, how many hours are you delaying your bodies potential to burn fat?
It’s easy to over do it with alcohol, with most having felt some of the short-term effects of alcohol at some point in their life. Some of the more common transient short-term effects of alcohol can include reduced concentration, slurred speech, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Then there are the long-term effects, with alcohol consumption being associated with increased risk of certain lifestyle related disease. I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty details, but I will mention that alcohol has been associated with increased risk of damaging the heart, liver, your immune system, and pancreas. Not to mention consumption being linked with increased risk of developing certain cancers and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety in some people.
Now that we all know the effects alcohol can have on our body. Have you ever wondered if there was a “better” alcoholic drink you should be having when out with friends?
Like most things it is all about enjoying in moderation. Some alcoholic beverages have higher alcohol and calorie content compared to others. But when it comes down it to, it’s all about personal preference. If you really enjoy the taste of a particular drink, it is much better to have two glasses of a higher calorie drink you enjoy compared to four glasses of a lower calorie drink that you cannot stand the taste.
In saying this, it is recommended to opt for drinks with lower alcohol content, such as low or mid strength beers.
If having spirits, be cautious of the mixers. Soft drink, juice and many cocktail concoctions are laden with sugar, fat and excess calories, further adding to the burden already placed on your body. And remember when drinking your body is unable to process these nutrients until the alcohol is cleared from your system.
Still wondering what the best option is? If having spirits, a great mixer alternative is soda, not only is it calorie empty but also provides your body with some much-needed hydration. Not sold? Try spicing it up with bitters and some fresh lime.
Looking for a summer drink, below is Transform Health’s cocktail recipe, which can be enjoyed as both a cocktail and a mocktail.
FRUITIQUE COCKTAIL JUG:
½ cup frozen berries
½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
30 ml fresh lemon juice
½ bunch mint
Fill with soda water
We recommend 60-90 mls of gin or vodka for this mix, but feel free to try something else.
And remember, enjoy in moderation. Before heading out know your limit and plan the amount of drinks you are going to have. Space out your drinks with water or something non-alcoholic between, as your liver can only process one standard drink per hour.
As well as moderation remember to eat well before, during and after you consume alcohol. This helps to slow alcohol absorption and keep you satisfied and away from the deep-fried temptations later on in the night.