Alcohol, is it the end of the world when it comes to our health and fitness goals?
For as long as I can remember alcohol and fitness did not go together if you wanted to achieve any goal you had to abstain from the demon.
But the more this subject is studied the more it is shown to not be the end of the world even to be of benefit especially for those among us that are not aspiring to a professional level and still wants to live a less restricted life.
So, first of all, let us break down what alcohol costs.
No, I don’t mean in a money sense.
We are all fully aware the dent a booze filled night out can make on our bank accounts
What I mean is in a calorie sense.
Alcohol alone contains 7kcals per gram, 1 unit of alcohol equals 10ml or 8g due to it having a lower density (being lighter) than water, equaling 56kcals per unit of alcohol from the alcohol content of a drink alone.
So to put this into more relevant terms
Red wine (175ml glass 13% ABV) 2.3 units = 160kcal
White wine (175ml glass 13% ABV) 2.3 units = 160kcal
Prosecco (125ml glass 12% ABV) 1.5 units = 88kcal
Light beer 330ml (4% ABV) 1.3 units = 108kcal
Lager pint (4%) 2.2 units = 190kcal
These liquid calories can quickly mount up especially on a night out and if for example, we have a daily calorie goal of 2000kcal, three glass of wine can easily take up nearly a quarter of our calories.
But as we have mentioned this is not the end of the world as with preplanning we can offset this may be surplus and keep ourself on track.
Also while we are on the subject of weight management the idea has always been that drinking alcohol makes us fat.
Well, studies have shown this is not entirely true studies have shown that as long as the calorie value of the drinks we consume are taken into account there is no real difference in weight loss or weight gain b
etween people that do drink and people that do not.
But how alcohol can make us put on weight of make us struggle to lose it is twofold.
First thing alcohol can increase appetite and the feel-good factor of eating so if we are on a reduced-calorie diet and or restricting certain foods if we get a taste for the food we are more prone to overeat.
Also, we are all aware of how alcohol lowers our inhibitions this can easily translate through to our eating especially when on a restricted diet.
For example, you are on a night out and you have had a few but you planned ahead and the sum total of the drinks you have had are inside your calorie range (were winning) but we pass a takeaway on the way for our taxi and before we know if we are 1000kcals deep into a pepperoni pizza.
So as we can see alcohol can be a cause of us putting on weight or stopping use from losing it but this can easily be mitigated by preplanning of
1/ The calorie content of our drinks
2/ Prepping a post-night out snack at home where the calories are accounted for.
And lastly, let’s address the health implications of drinking alcohol.
While the great stigma is that alcohol is bad for our healths and should be kept to a bare minimum if not totally avoided, especially for the health and fitness enthusiast.
The truth is somewhere in the middle, while excessive drinking can lead to numerous health implications.
Consuming one standard serving drink per day more than three times per week is shown to correlate with reduced risk of hypertension, stroke and sudden cardiac death compared to not drinking.
So the odd drink here and there is not the end of the world after all. And to wrap this up here are some recommendations to take home.
1-2 drinks per day, 3-4 times per week.
No more than 14 units ideally, less than 10 is even better
Account for calories
Plan for other consumption (foods that may be eaten)