Alcohol consumption can derail your fitness & nutrition goals

Now that summer has arrived and the warmer weather is here it may be more tempting for you to reach for a cold alcoholic beverage. This is a great time to learn a bit about how alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on your fitness and nutrition goals. The first thing you should understand is that alcohol is more calorically dense than carbohydrate or protein. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, while carbohydrate and protein contain only 4 calories per gram. In addition to more calories alcohol is considered to contain empty calories, meaning it does not provide any vitamins or minerals that are beneficial for your body. Unfortunately not only does it contain empty calories, but alcohol is also nutrient sparing. Since your body can not store alcohol it must take priority in the metabolic process, thus forcing you to hold on to the beneficial nutrients from the food that you eat. Therefore alcohol consumption not only forces your body to store vitamins and minerals, but also the carbohydrate, protein and fat that contain the nutrients.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget that in addition to containing empty calories and being nutrient sparing, alcohol also stimulates your appetite, thus resulting in greater calorie consumption and in turn greater nutrient storage. Often the foods that are craved while intoxicated are high calorie choices which does not help the situation. Now that you have all this information on the ill effects of alcohol I must say that enjoying a beverage every now and then is not going to completely ruin your goals, however there are some selections that are better than others when comparing caloric content. If you are looking for an alcoholic beverage that is on the lite side opt for a lite beer (110 cal), a distilled beverage such as scotch, vodka or gin mixed with tonic or soda water (100 cal) or a glass of wine (105 cal) rather than a mixed drink such as a mudslide (820 cal) or margherita (327 cal). All of the above listed beverages are in single serving sizes, so if you choose to have more than one drink the calories add up quickly.

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