Alcoholic beverages are hidden calorie bombs. Did you know that alcohol has almost as many calories as pure fat? Since alcohol is made from sugar and starch, it contains 7 calories per gram—almost twice as many as protein and carbs (4 calories per gram). Fat still takes the cake (9 calories per gram) but alcohol comes in a close second.
It’s easy to drink calories, so we often fail to realize how many extra calories we’re actually consuming. But that’s not all! Alcohol stimulates your appetite and slows your metabolism. In this article, we’ll discuss why alcohol causes you to gain weight and which alcoholic beverages contain the most calories.
High Caloric Density: Alcohol in a Nutshell
Cocktails and other alcoholic drinks often look refreshing but the momentary pleasure often comes with an unbelievable number of calories.
There are a whopping 710 calories in 100 ml (3 oz.) of pure alcohol! Only pure fat packs in that kind of caloric density. It’s hardly surprising that, alongside fast food and sugar, the regular consumption of beer and wine is considered one of the worst offenders when it comes to making us fat. The caloric content of different drinks varies greatly. A single piña colada, for example, contains more than five times as many calories as a white wine spritzer.
Alcohol Fills You With Calories but Leaves You Hungry
Alcoholic beverages, like cocktails, often contain a lot of sugar. This signals your body to secrete insulin in your blood but when the insulin level subsequently drops, this can lead to the munchies. On one hand, alcohol already contains more than enough calories. On the other hand, it makes you hungry and entices you to intake even more calories. This results in overshooting your caloric balance, which in turn, leads to those love handles forming over time. The increased insulin in your bloodstream prevents your body from losing fat, which further enhances the effect.
Can I Drink When I’m Dieting?
The less alcohol you drink, the faster you can lose body fat. That’s why it’s a smart move to skip out on beer, wine and cocktails when dieting. But we’re all human. Like anything else, do it in moderation. Reducing your alcohol intake will have a lasting effect, but only if you continue to follow those good intentions once you stop dieting. If, after reaching your target weight, you subsequently return to your daily after-work beer, it won’t be long before you start regaining that weight you worked so hard to lose. This is the dreaded yo-yo effect.
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