It’s that time of year again when we start to think about dropping some of that winter insulation. And the elephant in the room needs to be addressed…your extra weight may be a result of your daily glass(es) of wine at the end of the day.
I hate to spoil the fun, and I enjoy a glass of wine like many of you, but it’s important to note that unlike food calories, alcohol causes you to gain weight in four different ways.
1) It is high in calories. Alcohol by weight has more calories than both carbs and protein, it has 7 calorie per gram, compared to protein which is 4 calories per gram. And those calories are pure sugar.
2) It stops your body from burning fat. When alcohol is consumed, it is burned first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else. This includes glucose from carbs or lipids from fat. When your body uses alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess glucose and fats end up being stored as fat immediately.
3) It can increase your appetite. Last week I wrote about foods that increase satiety, alcohol does the exact opposite. It decreases your ability to be satiated with your food and increases your appetite, making you eat more, but have less satisfaction from the food you eat.
4) It can lead to poor food choices. We all know alcohol lowers inhibitions and can lead to poor decision making in the moment, especially when it comes to food choices.
But it isn’t just about weight loss. Research has shown that drinking more than one glass a day can increase your blood pressure and raise your triglyceride levels. We also know that alcohol can help you fall asleep but can wake you up repeatedly in the night. Plus it disrupts the important REM stage of sleep and may cause you to get up and pee in the night.
If you are interested in cutting back here are some tips that might help:
1) Set alcohol aside for a while. Cut out alcohol for a few weeks and see what your body and the scale says. You may be pleasantly surprised.
2) Cut your consumption. Go from two glasses to one per night, or drink only on weekends.
3) Reduce your pour. This is what I do. I actually use juice glasses instead of wine glasses. It may not be classy but at less than 2 ounces a pour there is still room for seconds!
4) Ensure you are well hydrated before you pour. If you are thirsty before you drink, the satisfaction level and the speed at which you drink will be magnified. Also, drinking water between drinks can cut the amount of alcohol you drink and leave you feeling better the next morning.