Carbohydrates & Alcohol
The body responds similarly to alcohol and carbohydrates. It's funny how many dieters still consume a fair amount of alcohol without giving it a second thought. But alcohol can cause a drop in weight loss just as carbohydrates can.
How Your Body Uses Alcohol
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition measured the effect of alcohol on fat metabolism. The study showed that even several hours after consuming two alcoholic, sugar-free drinks in one hour, participants body lipid oxidation levels (which measure how much fat the body is burning) dropped by an astonishing 73%. It seems that alcohol, instead of being stored as fat, is turned into acetate; body levels of acetate after drinking can double or even triple. Acetate is what causes the body to stop burning fat. Essentially alcohol consumption stops all fat burning and makes the body deal solely with processing the acetate, which replaces fat as a fuel for the body.
Carbohydrates in the Body
The body responds to carbohydrates in a similar way. Carbohydrates are converted into fat, unless the body has too many carbohydrates. An excess of carbohydrates causes the body to do the same thing as it does with alcohol: it puts the rest of the fat burning process on hold to deal solely with the excess carbohydrates.
Alcohol, Carbohydrates and Calories
One gram of alcohol is about 7 calories, while one gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories. Therefore, one alcoholic beverage is much higher in calories that the same amount of carbohydrates. While many of us choose to skip the roll with our salads, we are still quick to down a drink or two with dinner. Unfortunately, that alcoholic beverage can do much more damage that the dinner roll would.
Counting Those Carbohydrates
Alcohol also contains carbohydrates; carbohydrate counts vary greatly depending on the type of alcohol and any mixers put into a drink. Light beers typically have around 100 calories and 3-5 grams of carbohydrates. Wine can have 150 to 200 calories, and sweet dessert wines can have as much as 300 to 400 calories; carbohydrate counts range from 2-4 grams for dry wines, and as high as 30 grams for dessert wines (dessert wines are much sweeter and have greater amounts of sugar). When we look at liquor, the numbers can vary greatly. One ounce of straight liquor (rum, vodka, whiskey, gin) has around 65 calories and no carbohydrates. Sweeter liquors, as with sweet wines, have more calories and much more carbohydrates.
Use Common Sense
We know that moderate alcohol consumption may have some health benefits, especially wine. Experts suggest drinking no more than one glass a day, and that doesn't mean you can store up 6 glasses for the weekend! Use common sense when consuming alcohol. If you crave those chocolate martinis, skip dessert and have just the one beverage. Sip a shot of flavor infused vodka over ice, or an aged bourbon rather than a mixed cocktail. Avoid the daiquiris and margaritas which are loaded with sugar and try a screwdriver or bloody mary. Just as with any diet plan, alcohol consumption can be included in moderation. You don't need to completely abstain from alcohol to lose weight so long as you're smart about what and how much you drink.