"Can I drink alcohol
on my diet?"
alcohol), without other added ingredients, provides a substantial
number of calories and is second only to the numbers of calories
provided by fat. One shot, or one ounce, of pure alcohol contains
approximately 70 to 100 calories, or 7 calories per gram, whereas
fat provides 9 calories per gram. (Protein and carbohydrates
provide 4 calories per gram.) Alcohol is a drug, but it's also
classified as a food because of it's calories that provide energy,
even though they are empty calories that contain no nutrients.
Alcohol is metabolized
in the body by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) found
in the liver and brain, so a small amount of alcohol is tolerated
well. Since the end product of alcohol metabolism is acetaldehyde
and not sugar as many people mistakenly
believe, too much acetaldehyde entering the blood stream can
cause that "not-so-good" feeling.
not a foreign substance to the body. You may be surprised to discover that
your own intestinal bacteria produce a small amount of alcohol,
and table sugar, along with other carbohydrates we eat, contain
alcohol-type molecules (OH). During the fermentation process,
sugar is mixed with yeast, and the result is
ethyl alcohol (ETOH), the kind we drink. Beer is made by fermenting
barley and hops, wine is made from grapes, and hard liquor is
produced from the fermentation of grains and potatoes.
alcohol requires no digestion - it's immediately absorbed from
the stomach into the blood which accounts for its rapid effects.
It's then dispersed throughout the body and absorbed by all body
tissues. If you've been drinking a little too much but think
your health status is uncompromised because you eat a healthy
diet, you should know that alcohol affects every body process, including the metabolism of vitamins,
minerals, and protein, so that even a well-fed person who drinks
too much too often can suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
best drink if you're trying to lose weight? Since water and diet soda have no calories, these
would be the better choice to use as mixes if youre looking
for a low calorie drink. Other ingredients, milk, cream, and
juice, are more nutritious, but add calories. A sugared soda
provides no nutritional benefits, so if you have a choice between
soda and juice, choose the juice. Choose light beer over dark
beer, milk instead of cream, and avoid fancy drinks with multiple
ingredients. (See chart below.)
There's no physiological
harm in drinking alcohol in small amounts. In fact, there are
beneficial effects. Daily
consumption of a six ounce glass of red wine, which contains
antioxidants, may help prevent heart disease. It's controversial
whether beer or hard liquor may help as well.
is metabolized to acetaldehyde and not sugar, too much alcohol can
cause a decrease in blood sugars. A sugared drink in the short-term will raise blood
sugars, but in the long-term will lower blood sugars, so be sure
to eat when drinking beverages containing alcohol, especially
if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes. If you're taking insulin
or oral medications, be aware that alcohol plus diabetic medications
can lower blood sugars to a dangerous level and cause insulin
shock. Some oral hypoglycemics react negatively with alcohol,
so the two should not be consumed together.
is allowed on the CarboH diet, but calories from alcohol are
never substituted for nutritious food. It's Ok to enjoy a few
beverages containing alcohol while you're dieting, but how do
you know when you're guzzling too many tasty drinks? The answer
is simple - If
you're drinking enough to add extra pounds, then you're drinking
dark 12 oz.
-Many people don't realize
that a lot of that unwanted fat they're carrying around comes
from consuming too many high calorie beverages containing alcohol!
-Alcohol affects the central
nervous system by dilating blood vessels. This causes heat loss
from the body and a feeling of warmth throughout.
-Because fat tissue contains
little water, a person with more body fat will not be able to
tolerate as much alcohol compared to a person of normal weight.
-Pure ethyl alcohol has no
odor or taste. During the fermentation process, congeners (esters,
ketones, and other substances from fruit and grains) are collected
which add aroma and flavor.
Where do you get your nutrition
information? Most states now have licensure laws for Dietitians
and Nutritionists. Be sure your nutrition advisor is "Licensed"
by the State as a Licensed Dietitian (LD) or Licensed Nutritionist
(LN), or in states that don't have licensure laws, a Registered
Barbara Herondorf, L.D.
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