13 February 2013 Alcohol and Your Diet: It's More than Empty Calories

Alcohol consumption and dieting are often recommended not to go hand in hand, mostly because of its empty calories. However, the extra calories from alcohol may not be the primary reason people gain weight when they don't moderate their intake. In fact, there may be two things worse about alcohol than its calories.

If alcohol has a moderated place in your diet, and you accurately track its calories, there may be no reason to stop consuming it altogether. However, there are a few important things to consider about alcohol's potential impact to your overall diet and exercise. If you have experienced a weight loss plateau or feeling more fatigued in your workouts, consider these:

  1. Alcohol can lower your body's ability to burn fat. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who consumed less than an ounce of alcohol over a 30-minute time period reduced their body's ability to burn fat by 73 percent.
  2. Alcohol can derail your good intentions. When people consume alcohol, their bodies' senses for feeling full are dulled. This produces a compounded effect in that alcohol, on one hand, reduces our ability to withstand temptations, and if our body can't sense it's full, we may consume more calories than we need.

A study from the UK found that people who had the equivalent of two drinks with food ate 30 percent more than those who didn't. Similarly, a Dutch study showed that it takes people longer to feel full when they consumed alcohol before a meal.

Alcohol really is full of empty calories. It has nearly twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbs. Given that alcohol is not an essential nutrient, sometimes we really can do without it.

Not only is it not essential, alcohol can prevent the absorption of other vital nutrients our bodies do need. This happens because when people consume alcohol their bodies expend energy to expelling the alcohol from their systems. This leaves little time for the body to process vitamins and minerals and properly maintain blood glucose levels.

Alcohol does not help us sleep better. In fact, when we consume alcohol, we can experience increased waking, a shallower sleep, heartburn, and an inflamed digestive system.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Alcohol & Other Beverages/Calories

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