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Calorie Dense Alcohol

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Alcohol is produced when yeasts process certain sugars; therefore, it is a calorie-dense liquid. Alcohol contains almost twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins, yielding seven calories for every gram consumed. Alcohol is very calorie dense coming in at seven calories per gram, but it also halts fat loss progress when you consume it.

Calorie Dense Alcohol

Facts About Calorie Dense Alcohol

Alcohol A Calorie-Dense Liquid

1. Unlike protein, fat, and carbohydrates, alcohol is not an essential nutrient. In large doses, alcohol can cause malnutrition by preventing nutrients from being absorbed by the body.

2. Alcohol affects areas of the brain, as well. It numbs the brain's emotion and decision-governing centers first. Muscle control centers are then affected, followed by attacks on the breathing and heartbeat centers.

Not everyone can cut out drinking from time to time. Drinking alcohol is heavily linked to festive holiday and social events year-round. If you feel like drinking isn't something that you can give up, at the very least know make smart alcohol choices. Let's have a look at the top considerations.

Smarter Alcohol Choices

Straight Liquor With Seltzer Water. One ounce of your favorite liquor with simple seltzer water or plain water. This will contain only around 70 calories per drink, so is a much lighter option. If you can alternate this with one glass of plain water, all the better.

White Wine. If wine is your thing, the good news is that this is a relatively lower calorie choice. Most wines range from 90-150 calories per glass depending on the variety, so if you keep your total number of glasses down, it doesn't have to destroy your diet. Like the above, it's always a good idea to alternate one alcohol drink with one non alcohol drink.

Light beer. If you are a big fan of beer but don’t like what it does to your waistline, light beer is almost half the calories – and that can add up to some serious savings. Light beer is also lower in total carbohydrates.

Alcohol to Avoid

Creamy Liquor. Creamy liquors contain alcohol, fat, and sugar in one, so they pile on the pounds quickly. In addition, these are often mixed with milk, so while the milk is healthy, it will add extra calories. Most creamy liquors come in around 120 calories per ounce.

Frozen Beverages. Frozen slushy beverages are also something to be very careful about. These can easily contain upwards of 400 calories once everything is added in. They contain far too much sugar as well, which will be very bad if you are trying to prevent a hangover. The combination of all that sugar added to alcohol is a sure-fire recipe for fat gains. The sugar spikes insulin levels and since there is no carbohydrate oxidation taking place (as the body will be 100 percent focused on burning off the alcohol calories), this means that sugar will move right into body fat stores.

Cocktails. Cocktails are not smart alcohol choices. Cocktails contain higher amounts of sugar and will often contain more than one different type of alcohol. Most come in at around 300 calories or more, so will put a big dent in your diet.

What Happens When We Drink Alcohol?

First, your liver has to process alcohol. While busy with this task your liver’s ability to perform up to 500 other functions can be reduced. Second, when you drink alcohol to excess, as in binge drinking, your liver starts to store the excess alcohol. Too much of this behavior can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis.

Alcohol decreases your body’s ability to detoxify and inhibits white blood cells, which can negatively affect your immune system. Research also shows links to cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver and breast from excessive alcohol consumption. (Source: Cancer.org)

"The way alcohol causes cancer is not completely understood. It could be that alcohol itself causes cancer by increasing hormone levels or it may be carcinogenic because of the way it is metabolized, which can make cells more vulnerable to other carcinogens."

Effects of a Hangover

Did you ever wonder exactly what is going on in your body when you're feeling the morning-after effects of too much alcohol the night before? A hangover can be miserable -- even more so when you learn just what you're putting your body through.

Hangover

A heavy bout of drinking affects nearly every system of the body for up to 24 hours. Let's take a look at the body's reaction to a large dose of alcohol:

What Did That Alcohol Do To Me?!

  • Liver builds up fatty and lactic acids, impairing the body's ability to metabolize sugar. The resulting low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause weakness and mood disturbances.
  • Stomach lining becomes inflamed, delaying digestion; excess gastric acid contributes to nausea.
  • Throat and mouth feel dry and scratchy due to dehydration.
  • Muscles become weak from dehydration and low blood sugar levels.
  • Brain's blood vessels dilate, causing a throbbing headache. Dehydration can cause the brain to pull from its lining, intensifying the pain.
  • Pituitary gland releases improper amounts of several hormones, disrupting the brain's circadian rhythm (which makes sleep feel less restful) and interfering with normal kidney function.
  • Central nervous system becomes chemically overexcited, causing sweating, tremors and sensitivity to light, sound and touch.
  • Heart can become inflamed, start beating with an abnormal rhythm, or even stop beating.
  • Pancreas increases production of digestive chemicals, causing pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • Kidneys fail to reabsorb water, causing increased urination and dehydration.

Drinking and Germs?

More than a glass or two of alcohol a day can suppress a reflex that protects your airway when you swallow. When the reflex is blunted, particles from your mouth can get into the airway along with all the germs they carry. Booze also expands blood vessels, making congestion worse and increasing the risk of secondary infections.

Of course, the best way to prevent all these destructive effects of alcohol is to avoid over-indulgence completely. In fact, the best hangover prevention is abstinence. However, we are only human and from time to time "things happen" as they say.

Many people believe in the practice commonly known as "hair of the dog" -- i.e., have another drink to cure your hangover ills. However, in the end this can only make matters worse. Time is probably the best cure. Treating a hangover is similar to treating the flu -- liquids, rest, nutrients, aspirin, etc.

In addition, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine states that an extract of prickly pear cactus can alleviate hangover symptoms. They claim it reduced three of nine hangover symptoms -- nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite -- and halved the risk of a severe hangover. Participants in the study were given two capsules of prickly pear extract before imbibing.

Hangover tidbit: In a 2000 journal article, a term for an alcohol hangover was coined: Veisalgia. The word stems from the Norwegian word kveis, meaning "uneasiness following debauchery", and algia, Greek for pain.

Did you know? Try eating some peanut butter before drinking to stave off a hangover. This practice is most commonly found in Africa.

Tea for a Hangover?

Tea's detoxification potential counteracts the effects of alcohol, which is why drinking tea has been regarded as a traditional antidote for hangovers. The moderate stimulation provided by the caffeine settles the mind and helps the body recover from fatigue, and vitamin C helps the function of caffeine. Two or three cups of the first serving of gyokuro or sencha tea will be best because they both contain a lot of both caffeine and vitamin C.

Chia Seed for a Hangover?

There are several underground reports that chia seed is used to prevent hangovers, or as a way to lessen the effect of a full-blown hangover. While we don't know anyone personally who tried this, it makes sense: Chia contains high levels of vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, as well as ferulates and many phytonutrients - all of which help the body get rid of unwanted toxins, and all of which are depleted by alcohol. Furthermore, chia is hydrating, so it can prevent and treat the dehydration caused by alcohol. To try this yourself, after a night of hitting the town, stir 1 tablespoon of chia into a glass of water before going to bed. Repeat upon waking if needed.