Alcohol - The negative effects on your health and your weight

When it comes to get-togethers, parties, and the holidays, alcohol is often associated with the festivities.  Here are some important health factors to consider:  

Hard liquor such as vodka is a more concentrated source of alcohol than wine or beer, so it tends to be higher in calories ounce per ounce. Vodka is a popular choice in cocktails, but between the alcohol and the mixers, the calories can add up quickly. In general, the serving size for a shot of vodka is 1.5 oz. A shot of 80 proof vodka has 109 calories, according to the CalorieKing website, and a shot of 100 proof vodka has 123 calories. If you drink a double shot, that’s more than 200 calories -- before you even add any juice or other mixers. If you drink one shot of 80 proof vodka a day, you'll consume an extra 3,270 extra calories in a month. Most of the major types of hard liquor have the same number of calories. Tequila, whiskey, gin and rum also have about 100 to 125 calories per shot. According to the Center for Disease Control, "moderate" drinking is defined as one drink a day for females, and two drinks per day for males.  A man who is a moderate drinker, consuming two shots of vodka per day, would consume more than 6,000 calories in alcohol alone in the course of a month!  A shot of vodka has an amount of alcohol comparable to the alcohol in a glass of wine or beer. A glass of red wine has about 100 calories per 5 oz serving and a glass of white wine has about 90 calories per 5 oz serving. A glass of beer has about 150 calories in a regular 12 oz serving. The extra calories in beer come mostly from carbohydrates. Moderate and limit your alcoholic consumption and choose your calories wisely.  Liquid calories go down far too easy and it's often easy to go overboard. 

The negative health effects of consuming excessive alcohol are numerous:

Alcohol can affect the amount that your body can burn. A study found that consuming 24 g of alcohol could decrease your body's whole body lipid oxidation or ability to burn fat by a staggering 73 percent. When alcohol passes the liver, it produces a by-product called Acetate, which inhibits fat burning capabilities of the body. This means that if you drink alcohol constantly, the fat burning processes in your body take a back seat. This results in more fat stored in your body, which can significantly increase your weight.

Another study has proved that alcohol consumption results in an increase of appetite more than any other type of drink. Since alcohol is a diuretic, (can increase rate of urination) it can cause dehydration, and consequently, impair the growth and repair process (especially important when you’re training hard) and have a negative overall effect on your well-being.

Alcohol decreases vitamin and mineral absorption and interferes with the absorption of most nutrients. Drinking alcohol can decrease the production of testosterone (and also sex drive) and increase cortisone, a muscle-destroying hormone.

Next time you plan a night out with the guys/gals, be sure to consider all the negative effects to your overall health and weight loss efforts. Moderation is crucial!


Susan Arruda