Does drinking alcohol in “moderation” affect my fat-loss and health?
There are 2 things we need to address here firstly:
1. A bit of science- Energy in specific nutrients (calories).
· 1g of fat = 9 calories
· 1g of carbohydrate = 4 calories
· 1g of protein = 4 calories
· 1g of alcohol = 7 calories (nearly double protein and carbohydrates)
2. What does “moderation” mean? The Australian Government Guidelines recommends for men and women no more than 10 to 14 standard drinks per week. What does this mean?
· 150ml of wine = 1.6 standard drinks, (125 calories)
· 375ml bottle of full strength beer = 1.4 standard drinks, (150 calories)
· 30 ml of high strength liquor = 1 standard drink, (75 calories)
· A standard drink contains 10g of alcohol
BUT WHO MEASURES THEIR WINE ANYWAY??
Just say, every night you are having a “couple” of drinks after work, it can add up to easily an extra 300 calories a day (and I am being conservative). This equates to an extra 2100 calories per week, which will affect your weight loss, especially if you are on a slight deficit of 300 calories per day, so you would not lose any weight at all.
There are many internal health risks on drinking alcohol excessively- liver function and damage, pancreas, brain and nerve function and mood (depression), heart health and blood clots, anaemia, cancer, digestive problems and sleep, just to name a few, but I'm not emphasising this today.
Around the world drinking alcohol is a part of culture, so probably you will continue to drink, despite what I write in here!
Drinking or not drinking isn’t about “Healthy VS Not”
It’s about trade-offs.
Alcohol is just one factor among many that affect physical performance, health, and fitness.
Whether to keep drinking or cut back depends on how much you drink, what your goals are, and how you want to prioritize those things.
Only you know what you are or are not willing to trade.
It may be a simple “yes” or “no”.
Saying "yes" to 6-pack abs might mean saying “no” to all drinks.
Saying "yes" to Friday happy hour might mean saying “no” to your Saturday morning workout.
Saying "yes" to marathon training might mean saying “no” to boozy weekend Friday and Saturday drinks.
Saying "yes" to better sleep (and focus, and mood) might mean saying “no” to your daily wine with dinner.
Saying "yes" to moderate alcohol consumption might mean finding a way to say “no” to stress triggers (or human triggers) that make you want to drink more.
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO TRY? ASK YOURSELF…..
Maybe you are willing to practice drinking more slowly and mindfully, but you are not willing to have any alcohol free days.
Maybe you are trying to lose weight, so you’d consider drinking a little less. Like 2 beers instead of 3, but not 0, and every second drink is water.
Or, maybe you are willing to stay sober during most social situations, but you are not willing to endure your partner’s office party without a wine in hand.
Guidelines for drinking don’t tell us what effects alcohol has on YOU, you know your body and how you react more than anyone else.
So, forget about “expert” advice for just a moment.
Instead, try letting your body lead.
Read its cues. Observe yourself carefully, gather data, and see how alcohol is — or is not — working for you. Write notes in a journal for a month, then try to have a few “alcohol free” days each week and see how you feel and if you feel different- your sleep, mood, energy levels and food choices, overall health and weight loss.
Many people are surprised to discover how much alcohol they are actually drinking, and how difficult they find it to give that up. It is a self-awareness building practice, which can help you take control back over your consumption, especially if you have long term fat loss goals.
My personal experience (since this is my blog), is I feel 100% healthier, happier and in control without alcohol in my life. If you have known me for a long time, I was a drinker- moderate to heavy on the weekends. Over the past 10 years I have cut down dramatically to drinking occasionally, and in the past 2 years I would now call myself a ‘non” drinker, and I love it. I like to remain focused and engaged in social situations, I like to be able to train with a clear mind everyday and I don’t want any extra liquid calories in my diet, I prefer to eat real food for energy than drink alcohol- but this is just me! I encourage you, if you want to, to give it a go…more than “Dry July” - keep going for 3 months and see how you feel. If it is not for you then go ahead enjoy a wine or beer, but if you really feel the changes in a positive way then why not stick to it for life and keep alcohol to truly special occasions.