Now that the world is opening up again (freaking finally!), it seems like everyone is scrambling to lose their Quarantine 15. It’s possible that it’s just the people we surround ourselves with, but we keep hearing the same thing: no more alcohol.
We may be a wine company, but we understand it is a personal decision to cut alcohol. We love the stuff, but alcohol is made of empty calories, aka they don't have many nutrients. The truth is that giving up alcohol may seem like a guaranteed method to shed the extra pounds, but there might be easier ways to lose weight than cutting what we have to assume is your favorite treat to yourself after a long, hard workday. So let's talk about alcohol and its health content, shall we?
What Makes Alcohol Unhealthy, Anyway?
Moderate alcohol consumption can be a part of a balanced diet even though it contains calories. The problem with wine, in particular, is that, although, in beautiful eye-catching bottles, wine doesn't share the number of calories present in the bottle or the sugar intake and additives in the wine.
The catch is if you are trying to be healthy, you should know how much you are drinking and ensure you aren't over-indulging. For example, the American Heart Association states that men should consume no more than two glasses of wine per day, and women should restrict wine consumption to one glass of wine per day. Reminder: one drink consists of five ounces of wine, equating to 129 calories in a five-ounce pour.
It Has Tons of Empty Calories
Healthy diets are those that contain fuel and nutrients for your body. In other words, you are eating a balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates and fats. Calories in alcohol, however, are merely carbohydrates that, for the most part, supply zero nutritional benefits. For every gram of alcohol you consume, you take in almost double the amount of calories than if you consumed the same amount of protein or carbohydrates from a food source. With seven calories per gram, alcohol is a concentrated source of calories. To put that into perspective, protein is four calories per gram! In fact, some beers can have more calories than a slice of pizza and less nutritional benefits!
It Stops Your Liver From Burning Fat
Drinking alcohol decreases the fat our bodies can burn for energy. Our bodies can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat, but they cannot store liquor. Because of its inability to keep alcohol, our liver prioritizes metabolizing the drink first and puts everything else on pause. This means that all other metabolizing, including burning calories or fat cells, are placed on hold.
Are Some Types of Alcohol Healthier Than Others?
Absolutely! If you want to lose weight or become healthier, there is a way you can do both, starting with making healthier alcohol choices.
What Are the Healthiest Types of Alcohol?
Red wine, champagne, clear alcohols or whiskey drunk straight without simple syrup or mixers are some of the “healthier” alcohol types. Of course, there are other alcoholic drinks that are healthier options that haven't been included on this list, like vodka sodas, a scratch mojito (if you just need rum), or low calorie beers.
Let's start with the well-known myth amongst wine drinkers claiming that red wine is healthier and less caloric than white wine. While this is half true, it is not valid: yes, red wine has slightly more health benefits, but white and red wines have the same amount of calories.
Red wine has more health benefits because of the way it is produced. When white wine is made, grapes are pressed, and seeds, skins, and stems are removed before fermentation. In contrast, when producing red wine, the grapes are pressed, and the seeds, skins, and stems remain with the juice during fermentation. As a result, the grape skin gives red wine its color and imparts healthy compounds.
Grape skin comprises beneficial antioxidants, like polyphenol resveratrol, associated with promoting good health. For example, research indicates that resveratrol may reduce cholesterol levels, inhibit damage to blood vessels, and lower the risk of blood clots.
While red wine has more health benefits, white wine also has some health benefits. For example, white wine includes antioxidant properties that may aid in cancer prevention, and some research reveals that it may also defend the heart from aging.
However, when it comes to red and white wine's sugar and carb content, the wines are on an equal playing field because they're made from grapes with sugar. Sugar in wine is reliant on what happened throughout its fermentation process. Fermentation is when grape juice is turned into an alcoholic beverage because yeast eats the juice's sugars. In sugary wines, the winemaker prevents the fermentation process from completing, therefore, leaving more sugar. On the other hand, dry wines allow the process to complete, meaning there is very little sugar left in the final product. Therefore, dry wines have fewer carbohydrates.
For approximately how many carbs are in a glass of wine, here is what you need to know. Both dry red and dry white wines contain 2 grams of net carbs. So there are just under 4 grams of carbohydrates per 5-ounce serving in red and white wines as' traditional' wines.
As we said above, dry wines have less sugar than sweet wines because they let the fermentation process run its course. And lucky for us, our favorite celebratory drink happens to be a dry wine variety! A glass of extra brut champagne only has 1 gram of carbs! Cheers to that!
As a general rule of thumb, clear hard liquors such as tequila, gin and vodka are often low-calorie and lower in sugar and calories. Because of that, they are easier for our bodies to metabolize and therefore, “healthier.” Tequila, gin, and vodka also all have 0 grams of carbs.
Serving these liquors with a splash of grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, or a squeeze of lemon with tonic water can create refreshing cocktails perfect for a healthy lifestyle. Adding agave nectar in place of simple syrup or garnishing with mint can also add a hint of flavor with fewer grams of sugar than a margarita on the rocks.
Clear liquor is also the main attraction in a Bloody Mary, whose tomato juice and olives make it a great option for cocktail hour with vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
According to research, whiskey shares the same amount of antioxidant benefits as red wine. The next time you're ordering shots, consider picking whiskey such as scotch or bourbon.
As long as you are drinking in moderation alongside a healthy diet, you can continue to be healthy or lose weight if that’s your goal! As long as you are being mindful about what you’re putting in your body, the world is your oyster.