Spring is well and truly here but in many parts of the country, it still gets a bit chilly at night – and isn’t it nice to just snuggle up on the couch with a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon to keep you company!
If you like to indulge in some beer, wine or spirits on a regular basis, don’t be surprised if your waistline starts to expand at the same rate that your bank balance starts to dwindle. Because the truth is, wine and beer - or whatever tipple is your choice du jour – contain loads of calories AND they are all appetite stimulants, so you tend to eat more when you drink them.
In a nutshell, alcohol can indeed make you fat, so it pays to be aware when you choose to drink. Here are 5 reasons why that alcohol might be nudging up the dial when you step onto the scales.
1. It’s full of calories
Alcoholic drinks contain loads of calories and none of them are useful in the way that calories from protein and complex carbohydrates can be. Alcohol has no nutritional value at all, and calories from alcohol are often referred to as “empty” calories – definitely not a good thing for weight loss!
If you knock back half a bottle of wine at night, you’ll consume around 315 calories and a refreshing bottle of Corona will add 148 calories. The calories in spirits vary, but it’s usually the mixers that make things worse – adding a plain coke to your 61-calorie nip of Bundaberg rum will up your calorific intake by another 140 calories. And premixed drinks are a dieter’s nightmare – just one can of Bundaberg Rum & Cola will drop 248 calories into your day. The answer? Stick to diet versions of your favourite mixer, or better yet, switch to vodka with soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime.
2. Those calories can’t be stored
Your body places a different metabolic priority on alcohol than it does on the other food and drink you consume. Unlike protein and carbohydrates that can be stored, the calories from alcohol are used up by your body as the first priority, rather than those fat stores that you’ve been trying to get rid of over winter. Ok, so burning up those alcohol calories might sound like a good thing – but it means that your body’s metabolism effectively stops when you’re drinking. So, if you’ve just enjoyed a nice big dinner, those food calories are likely to be stored as fat, since they can’t be properly broken down by your metabolism.
3. It stimulates your appetite
Ever noticed that you tend to eat more when you’re drinking? That’s because drinks that contain alcohol are known as an appetite stimulant. This is why the French began a custom for “aperitifs” centuries ago – it literally means to enhance the appetite before a meal. Of course, it traditionally comes with appetizers such as canapés, hors d’oeuvres, and nuts, which are loaded with fats and carbohydrates too, but that’s a different story to tell.
4. It suppresses your central nervous system
Alcohol is a well-known central nervous system suppressant. While taking a drink or two can suppress your inhibition, or make you less nervous, drinking a little too much can make your inhibitions increasingly fall away. Inhibitions tend to reduce in proportion to the number of drinks you take, and this can lead to increased snacking as your usual good judgement gives up and goes to sit quietly in the corner - waiting to assess the damage once the party is over.
5. It can cause organ damage
Consuming alcohol can damage your internal organs, such as the stomach, liver and kidney. This adds strain to those systems and makes your fat-burning processes and metabolism less efficient. Over time, this damage can significantly impact the body’s ability to burn fat effectively, leading to weight gain. It can also negatively interfere with hormone production in the body, including testosterone, which stimulates the metabolism and is essential for muscle function and development. By compromising testosterone production, alcohol makes it even harder to burn fat and lose weight.
While all this talk of increased (and empty) calories, slowing metabolism and the increased urge to snack may sound a bit discouraging, you don’t have to quit alcohol completely. Alcohol can increase your good cholesterol, so our advice is - take it in moderation. If you can’t keep away from the wine, try switching to a nice Rosé and add plenty of ice and a splash of soda water to make it last longer. If spirits are your thing, make sure you use diet mixers rather than the sugar-laden variety and steer well clear of those pre-mixed cans. You can still satisfy your cravings but avoid that dreaded weight gain.
As a general rule of thumb, enjoy a drink but don’t get drunk. And if you have a special occasion looming, enjoy yourself and get back into healthier habits the next day. We know those special occasions can come with a hefty price tag so if your budget is a little tight right now, we’re here to help you out. Just check out our flexible mini-loans from $1K - $5K to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the funds into your bank account within a few hours - so you can go ahead and start planning that special occasion now!