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Alcohol Consumption and Weight Gain: The Nutritional Side of Drinking

As the old saying roughly goes, “Alcohol, making ugly people beautiful since the beginning of time.” While I'm not here to serve drinks or provide addiction counseling, I can shed light on the nutritional implications of alcohol consumption. Let's delve into some nutritional facts about various types of alcohol to help you make more informed decisions about your drinking habits.


For me, alcohol consumption is a weekend activity I enjoy with friends. Yes, I am a fitness professional and understand the cost/benefit analysis all types of booze provide. Because I enjoy consumption, I will never advise a client to stop drinking completely unless they decide on their own that it is the best choice for them.


Understanding Alcohol Calories


Let's get to the main number: ALL alcohol is 7 calories per gram. To put that into perspective, protein and carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram, and fats are 9 calories per gram. This basic nutritional information helps explain why some cocktails pack more calories than others. Remember, I didn't create these facts, so don't mentally joust with me about what your friend Susie, Ken, or Francine told you about vodka having no calories.


Here are a few popular types of alcohol and their calorie counts (alcohol only, no mixers):


- **Tequila**: 84 calories

- **Vodka**: 88 calories

- **Average 12oz beer**: 110 calories

- **Rum (80 proof)**: 97 calories

- **Whiskey**: 108 calories

- **Red wine**: 125 calories

- **White wine**: 123 calories


The Hidden Calories in Your Drink


Do you enjoy a cocktail, wine, or beer every night or a few times a week after work? Now you know the caloric intake of an average shot or glass of your favorite booze. Keep in mind, this doesn't include additional mixers, soft drinks, or juices. Have you ever done the math on your weekly alcohol consumption? This realization can be eye-opening, especially if you believe in the myth of "skinny" drinks.


The FDA doesn't require distilled spirits to have nutrition facts on their labels, so companies have the freedom to market them with terms like "skinny," "light," or "low cal." Always remember the 7 calories per gram rule when you read such claims. Now that you're armed with this information, you can make better decisions regarding your alcohol consumption from a nutritional standpoint.


Choosing Your Drinks Wisely


From a calorie-only standpoint, your best options might be like the chorus of that infamous song, “shots, shots, shots, shots.” Learn to drink distilled spirits on the rocks, neat, with club soda, or water. Michelob Ultra is a decent choice if you have just one or two, but we both know you'll need at least six to feel anything at 3.2% alcohol. Remember, math is hard, but it doesn't lie. It doesn't know the difference in religion, race, creed, nationality, gender, or time of day. Do your due diligence with the math and your fitness goals.


Responsible Drinking


If you have an alcohol addiction problem, please seek help for yourself and your loved ones. I'm not condoning any specific drinking habits and urge you to act responsibly, especially regarding drinking and driving. That said, be honest with yourself about what is important. My personal goal is to avoid alcohol Sunday through Thursday. Living in the New Orleans area, we enjoy booze with everything, and I include myself in that category of enjoyment. Drinking in moderation and knowing the numbers helps me make better decisions about how I want my body to look and function.


Use and share this blog to have a good time responsibly and in moderation.


Order my book, The Athlete in the Game of Life, at today for more exercise and nutritional tips!

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