EYWIP WEEK 13: Alcohol, Empty Calories, & Weight Gain
Posted Mar 30 2014 9:04am
Yup, it’s that time. You knew it was only a matter of time before alcohol consumption had to take the hit. You knew this because, well you know deep inside that drinking alcohol is not really that good for you. Or is it? Do a quick search online and you can find lots of information saying that moderate consumption of alcohol has health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of ulcers, and increasing socialization and relaxation. ( source ) But really we all know that in today’s information age anything you want to prove can be found online. Take for example alcohol. I can plug into a search engine “alcohol + health benefits” and get a ton of hits on how drinking alcohol will have a positive effect on my health. Then I could plug-in “alcohol+ bad for you” and get even more hits on how drinking alcohol will cause me to become an alcoholic and get fatty liver disease. Really you can apply this concept to anything you read online, even the stuff you read here (gasp!) It is up to you to do the research, see what makes sense, try it out on yourself where you are both the researcher and subject (N=1), and then formulate your own opinions. Everything that I post related to nutrition is from my research using books, web sites, pod casts, and college classes I’ve taken. I use this information in combination with my own personal experimentation and relay that information to you.
In last year’s post about reducing alcohol consumption I outlined 5 reasons why not drinking alcohol is a good idea from a psychological response, hormonal response, gut health, sleep, and toxicity point of view. Check out my post from last year here . I don’t drink a lot and try really hard to follow my “social rule.” The social rule is that if I am being social with friends or family, I will have 1 or 2 glasses of wine. If we don’t have any plans, and I know my night is going to consist of sitting in front of the TV after the kids go to bed, then I won’t have a drink just for the sake of having one. It’s just not worth it to me. Alcohol makes me put weight on very easily and frankly I work too hard in the gym and eat too clean to ruin that by binge drinking on the weekend.
Even if you don’t want to read about how alcohol can be detrimental to your health, let’s talk about how many empty calories is contains. A 4oz. glass of merlot contains 95 calories ( source ) which might not sound like that much except that when I pour a glass of wine at my house, my glass holds 8 oz. So that means that on Friday when I had my 2 glasses of wine, it was really 4 servings or 380 calories. What if you don’t drink wine but prefer light beer? A Bud Light has 110 calories per 12 oz. Now you have to take your total number of beers and multiple it by 110. How many calories did you just drink; crazy huh? Do you drink something completely different? Check out this site to figure out the calorie counts of many other types of drinks.
I am not usually one to advocate for counting calories or worrying about portion size…when we are talking about healthy food. But when it comes to food and drink that do not promote health, then unfortunately we do need to worry about these things. Alcohol consumption is the fastest way to derail a healthy lifestyle.
The great thing about this 15 week plan is…well #1 it’s almost done. It’s not like I took away all alcohol consumption in week 1. #2 it’s just a plan and it’s not forever. The basic gist is still try this whole paleo whole foods diet thing out and see how you feel. One-by-one, reintroduce eliminated foods (if you wish) to see how well you tolerate them. If you find that you tolerate these foods well and want to eat them, then have at it. At least you will know how you react to these foods and how you feel when you don’t eat them.
As always, let me know if you have any questions! Have a great week everyone.