If you are having trouble meeting your weight-loss goals, you might want to consider revisiting the number of calories you are ingesting with each alcoholic drink.
First, consider the amount of calories alcohol contributes to each drink. One ounce of hard liquor that is 80 proof (such as gin, vodka, rum, whiskey or scotch) amounts to 64 calories per ounce. If the hard liquor is 100 proof, then the calories are bumped up to 80 per same serving size (proof is defined as twice the volume percentage of ethanol in an alcoholic beverage – a drink that is 40 percent ethanol is 80 proof).
Now, lets consider the number of calories mixers add. Per each 8-ounce serving, orange juice contains 111 calories, soda about 100, and ginger ale or tonic around 80. These numbers indicate that each mixed drink amounts to about 150-200 calories, which is about as much as a chocolate chip cookie at Subway!
Think beer is any better? Think again. 12 ounces of regular beer is 150 calories, while the same serving size of light beer is 105 calories.
Alcohol also affects your body’s normal fat-burning mechanism, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight. In the absence of alcohol, the liver metabolizes fat, but when alcohol is around it chooses to breakdown alcohol first, resulting in a build-up of fatty acids.
Additionally important is the negative effect alcohol has on sleep. A poor night’s rest leads to insufficient amounts of sleep, which in return leads to weight gain.
Gabriela Halder is a graduate student at the Miller School of Medicine and a peer educator for Pier 21 and the Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.