Drinking is an enjoyable and social part of many of our lives but what damage is it doing to our health and are there any benefits to having the odd tipple or two?
Alcohol is technically the fourth Macronutrient (along with Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat) and contains 7 calories per gram. This puts it in the middle of protein/carbs (4kcal/gram) and Fat (9kcal/gram).
There is no direct link between the consumption of alcohol and the inability to burn fat or build muscle, but as our culture tends to binge drink on weekends this often leads the body to store excess body fat. This is down to a few reasons…
- Alcohol is easy to consume and so can easily take you over your calorie allowance
- Many people crave high calorie fatty foods when drunk (kebabs, pizza, chips etc.)
- The day after tends to be a right off, where little activity is done (low calorie expenditure)
Also, be aware that alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to lose water, through urine and sweat, which leads to dehydration. The reason for hangovers…
There are some benefits to consuming Alcohol however and these include:
- Reduced risk of Coronary Heart Disease (mainly men over 40 and post-menopausal women)
- Reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Enjoyable and easier to be social
These benefits do come however, when alcohol is consumed in little or moderate doses.
Your best bet? Have Alcohol in your diet if you prefer, but in small amounts, keep an eye on the calories in your drinks and try not get wasted…too often.