Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Drinking Up A Full Belly

After all the holiday parties and New Years events it is the perfect time to bring some awareness to the caloric content of drinks. Whether it is wine, beer, egg nog, cocktails, soda or hot chocolate, we often times forget that calories from liquids are the same as calories from food. It doesn't really seem to register completely though does it as they are all water based right and water has no calories, hence our delusion.

The calories we choose to drink are often times the ones that we are least conscious of and end up as the difference between a flat belly and a beer belly. They don't call it that for nothing. Alcohol is nearly as calorie dense as fat with 7 calories per gram compared to 9 for fat, and 4 for both carbs and protein. That is right, per gram alcohol has almost twice as many calories as say chicken or whole wheat bread (because you are only eating whole grains right!). Below is a chart of the typical calorie content in various forms of alcohol.

Drinking a very moderate amount of alcohol spread throughout a week has proven to have some health and heart benefits, however over consumption of alcohol has many bad effects, not least of which are the calories we consume on top of our normal meals when we should be drinking water to hydrate ourselves and aid in digestion. So if you find you are drinking too much alcohol or even mocha lattes, calculate the amount of excess calories you are added to your belly and maybe that will help you in moderating your consumption. Remember there are 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat and your weight = calories in + calories out.

It is almost unavoidable to not increase your calorie intake from both food and drink if you celebrate the holidays traditionally, but don't let those celebrations become habit forming for the next months until you are disgusted. It is now 2008, the holidays are over so lets all make a conscious effort to drink fewer alcoholic and sugary beverages, not to mention less cookies, red meat and cheese.


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