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Current statistics by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicate that nearly 88 percent of Americans consume Alcohol, while 25 percent of that group are reported to be heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers to tend to end up heavy, with most consuming an additional 1000 to 3000 calories per day due to the number of drinks they consume. Unfortunately, a culture highly reliant on alcohol has its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to health and weight loss. The quit drinking, lose weight mantra sounds great in theory but statistically, weight loss is not a sufficient motivator when it comes to quitting or at the very least controlling alcohol intake. So what’s the answer? In most cases understanding the health implications, both short term, and long term can help. To provide you clarity on this issue below is a thorough overview of how alcohol affects the body over time including adding additional pounds to your body.
General Adverse Effects of Alcohol
Before delving into one of the most harmful effects of alcohol, which is weight gain, alcohol also has some other series implications. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention points out that alcohol has both long-term and short-term health risks. These short term and long term health risks are extremely serious, which is why understanding them and taking action is the best option if you concerned about your health.
- Short-Term Health Risks
The most immediate health risks that people encounter through the consumption of alcohol include injuries dues to a decrease in motor abilities, an inclination towards violence, alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behaviors, and miscarriage or stillbirth among women who are pregnant. These short-term health risks typically materialize upon the immediate consumption of alcohol and tend to increase when the consumption occurs in a large social group.
- Long-Term Health Risks
While the short-term health risks are quite serious and problematic, the long-term effects are equally as bad. Long-term health risks include problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, memory problems, social problems, liver damage, and weight gain. By cutting down on your consumption of alcohol, you can easily reduce your risk of developing any one of these severe health problems. In addition, you can also prevent excessive weight gain that many adults are highly concerned about.
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of weight gain, especially if the drinks that you consume are heavy in calories. According to a recent article about the most current studies regarding alcohol and weight gain, alcohol contributes to both weight gain in men and in women. For example, men who moderately consume alcohol will consume an extra 430 calories on days that they drink.
Women fare somewhat better, gaining 300 calories on days that they drink moderately. Not only do alcoholic beverages themselves lead to an increase in caloric intake, but the studies have also found that individuals who consume alcohol tend to eat more fats and meats. Meals that are rich in meat and fat easily contribute to an increase in weight gain. Furthermore, the studies have also found that by consuming these fattier and meat-heavy meals, individuals also consumed fewer healthier fruits and vegetables.
Weight gain is especially prominent if you consume alcoholic drinks that are high in calories. In fact, every gram of alcohol contains seven calories. To put this value into perspective, every gram of carbohydrate has four calories and a gram of fat has nine calories.
In terms of alcohol, if this may not seem like many calories, it is more helpful to consider how many calories are in an entire drink. For instance, if you were to consume a pack of beer, then you are adding 900 calories and carbs to your diet unnecessarily. For those who drink a standard glass of wine every day of the week, that becomes an extra 700 calories per week to your diet.
The Unhealthiest Alcoholic Drinks
Understanding which drinks you should absolutely stay away from can help you maintain a healthy and positive diet by preventing weight gain and the ill effects of alcohol consumption. Below are the top types of drinks avoid:
While it may not seem so, cocktails are the most calorie dense alcoholic beverages available. The reason behind this is that the base of the cocktail, which is usually proof alcohol, contains about 80 to 90 calories per ounce. Initially, this isn’t a lot of calories, but it is vital to remember that your traditional cocktail is made with more than just the alcohol base. Cocktails also have components such as sugary fruit juice, chocolate, syrup, and other calorie-heavy mixers. These can add a significant amount of calories, therefore increasing the calories of your cocktail, eventually leading to weight gain.
Beer is also highly saturated in calories, many of which are comprised of carbohydrates. One traditionally sized bottle or can of beer contains anywhere between 300 and 400 calories. Part of these calories are carbohydrates. For instance, Anchor Stream bear contains 16 gram of carbohydrates. In most cases, people do not consume one can or bottle of beer, but a number of them, especially on social occasions. Furthermore, the beer is not consumed alone, but with unhealthy meals or appetizers to offset the effects of the alcohol.
- Red Wine
Finally, red wine is also on the list. While red wine is purported to have health benefits, it is also important to consider the calories involved in wine. One glass of red wine contains approximately one hundred calories. Consuming a bottle or wine throughout the week can significantly increase your calorie consumption and lead to weight gain.
Health Benefits of Quitting Drinking
Considering the adverse effects of drinking, quitting drinking can improve your health. Stopping to drink can improve the health of your inner organs by preventing the adverse effect that alcohol has on your body. In addition, your heart health and circulatory system will also improve. Without alcohol, your body is able to maintain a safe blood pressure level. Consuming alcohol also leads to an increased risk of cancer. Therefore, by stopping to drink, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer and protect your body’s health.
Quitting alcohol isn’t always easy. It takes time, dedication, hard work, and bypassing stages where you may go through some side-effects. The most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, irritability, and agitation. These symptoms tend to decrease over time, thus leaving you in better health and improving your overall weight. It comes down to how badly you want to lose weight. Quit drinking, lose weight? It is simple, but it’s certainly not easy.