Cheat Sheet On All Things Alcohol & Health By Baraa El Sabbagh, Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist in Dubai

Is Alcohol Messing With Your Health?

Cheat Sheet On All Things Alcohol & Health By Baraa El Sabbagh, Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist in Dubai

If you’ve been confused about what alcohol’s doing to your body, I’m excited to share today’s topic with you: Everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol & health! There’s even a little table and image to save and refer back to whenever you need it. Don’t worry, you won’t be getting advice like, “Definitely quit alcohol if you want to reach specific goals”, because: 

  • That’s so restrictive and I ain’t about that life. 
  • Second, as with all things, if we learn more about something, we can work out how to make smarter and better choices for our bodies. 
  • & third, I’ve had plenty of epic nights out and about in university (and still do) that I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on! 

Is Alcohol Keeping Me From Weight Loss Goals? 

Cheat Sheet On All Things Alcohol & Health By Baraa El Sabbagh, Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist in Dubai

Well, when we go over some lifestyle choices and take a closer look at what we’re doing on the weekends, we can easily locate the culprit and sort out a solution. By the way, if you have to be there and would rather listen to me talk about this, head over to episode #90 on the B for Better Health podcast

Calories From Alcohol

Team, calories are calories, whether they’re coming from a fruit, chicken breast, or alcohol. If you’re in a caloric surplus after a few days of eating & drinking, you will gain weight. There are 2 things you need to know about alcohol and calories:

  1. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, that’s almost double the calories per gram of carbs & proteins. 
  2. Alcoholic drinks are pretty calorie dense, more so the mixers more than the straight up drinks for sure. 

Before I break it down for you, I have to say, the calories I’m about to share are just estimates, this is because drinks are served in different portions in each bar, restaurant, or friend’s house. I’m sure you’ve seen that meme “The doctor said I can have one glass of wine a night”, and the glass is almost body sized! Point being, there’s a range for the calories but for the sake of the blog, I will be using calories of an average sized drink. 

More Specific Calories Per Alcoholic Beverage

BEVERAGE

ALCOHOL %

SERVING SIZE

CALORIES

BEER

Light

75%

1 can/bottle 

(12 Oz) 354 mL

103

Regular

63%

1 can/bottle 

(12 Oz) 354 mL

153

Craft 

85%

1 bottle

(12 Oz) 354 mL

197

DISTILLED ALCOHOL

Gin

100%

1 glass

 (1.5 Oz) 44 mL

96

Rum

100%

1 glass

 (1.5 Oz) 44 mL

96

Rum Coke 

71%

1 glass 

(6 Oz) 178 mL

180

Vodka

100%

1 glass

(1.5 Oz) 44 mL

97

Vodka With Soda

99%

1 glass

(9 Oz) 266 mL

100

Whisky

100%

1 glass

 (1.5 Oz) 44 mL

96

Scotch Whisky

100%

1 glass

(1 Oz) 29 mL

70

WINE

White Wine

87%

1 glass

(5 Oz) 148 mL

121

Red Wine

88%

1 glass

(5 Oz) 148 mL

125

Rose Wine

80%

1 glass

(5 Oz) 148 mL

126

COCKTAILS

Negroni

76%

1 cocktail

(3 Oz) 89 mL

200

Manhattan

90%

1 cocktail

(3.5 Oz) 74 mL

234

Long Island Iced Tea

80%

1 cocktail 

(9 Oz) 266 mL

256

White Russian

45%

1 cocktail 

(3 Oz) 87 mL

287

Margarita

62%

1 cocktail 

(4 Oz) 236 mL

115

Dirty Martini

83%

1 cocktail 

(2.25 Oz) 87 mL

158

Captain Morgan Rum

100% 

1 glass

(1.5 Oz) 44 mL

100

Aperol Spritz

58%

1 cocktail 

(6 Oz) 177 mL

209

Champagne

87%

(4 Oz)

96 calories

Cosmo

76%

(2.75 Oz)

115 calories

Pina Colada

39%

(9 Oz)

492 calories


Cocktails Are Sugar Bombs

The one main takeaway I want you to know is that cocktails have tons of sugar in them! Sometimes more than your average burger, which is a shame because I know I’d rather eat my calories than drink them. My advice? Go for straight up liquor when you’re counting calories, because adding mixers to your drinks like vodka grenadine or a rum & coke or a gin & tonic can bring the hard liquor up to a 200 calories per drink. 

Save Calories With These Tips

via GIPHY

 

  1. Choose soda water or the diet version of your mixers 
  2. Check out the calories of your favorite drinks before going out, the nutrition facts of your favorite beer will almost always be found online. Another thing to consider is that beer causes that distention in the stomach which is why you might be feeling bloated just from 1-2 beers. 
  3. Lastly, if you’re making the drinks at home yourself, you can always look up healthier recipes for that margarita or mojito. That’s what I do whenever we have a get together at my brother's house in the US, this allows us to still enjoy our drinks but not pile up on unnecessary calories. 

Life Isn’t About Counting Calories

Before I continue, I do have to make this point: we’re not on this Earth to count calories. We’re here to live life to the fullest, so the reason you’d count anything is to make sure it’s contributing to your goal of living healthy. BUT the moment that counting becomes obsessive, it takes all the fun out of anything! I believe in the power of knowledge, which is why I share all these facts and figures with you, but don’t let it control or take over your life! With the info you have, you have the liberty of making choices that make most sense to your end goal, which is to live a long and healthy life. 

Empty Calories In Alcohol 

Unfortunately, empty calories don’t mean non-existent calories! They’re calories that do nothing good for your body. They’re not nourishing and in fact, they could be flushing out all those good vitamins and minerals you’ve been stocking up on all day. If you’re an occasional or regular drinker, you know that alcohol is low satiating, meaning it does not make you feel full, it’s actually making you hungrier. 

Healthier Nibble Choices While Drinking

Because our appetites aren’t getting satisfied through alcohol, we snack endlessly on salted nuts, chips and popcorn while we drink. But you can make a smarter choice here too. The choice of food or snacks that you make before and during the night are key to having a healthier experience. Prepare: 

  • Carrots with lemon and cumin, 
  • Raw or lightly seasoned nuts, almonds, cashews, 
  • Some popcorn,  
  • Plate of cut veggies, 
  • Look for healthier chips at the supermarket, there’s so many options these days! 

Binge Eating After Drinking

Do you have to have a post drinking meal? Absolutely not, especially if you had dinner before or during. Having a meal before going out for the night is always a good idea so you’re satisfied and full, otherwise you’ll be grazing on snacks all night long and ending it with a greasy meal. 

Should you be reducing the calories throughout the day in anticipation for a drinking night? I would recommend you do that sparingly, I still want you to be getting your nutrients and having good energy without having to deal with the post drinking meal binge. But reducing a 100-200 calories a day could help you stay in line with those goals. 

But if you don’t want to do any of that, that’s fine too! I’ll just mention this again because it is important: health isn’t about keeping to a certain number of daily calories over and over for the rest of your life. 

Performance At The Gym After Drinking 

This one’s to all the health nuts trying to make the best out of their social lives while maintaining their health goals. Why does a night of drinking really slow you down the next day? What we forget is that alcohol makes us dehydrated, which is the reason for any body aches we experience the next day. If you were planning on working out without replenishing first with plenty of water, this will be one of those rare times you’ll hear me say: the gym will not help!

But if you’ve been hydrating well all night, then check in with yourself the next morning and see how you’re feeling. Otherwise, your performance will suffer during a workout. Your fatigue, body aches, and any bouts of nausea will be working against you while you’re hitting the weights, leaving you unable to finish a session properly or benefit from any muscle training exercises,

Home Improvement: How To Drink Healthily  

It all comes down to moderation team, I’m sharing all this stuff with you so you can learn to make better choices for your health on your own. Here are some things I’ll leave you to think about:

  1. When you’re drinking, skip the sugar filled drinks - go for low calorie mixers and clear spirits with a splash of sugar instead of ounces of it.
  2. Keep your training a priority by planning if you will be exercising the day of or the next day  so you can take it easy the morning after. 
  3. Feed yourself nutrient dense food before, during, and after drinking and keep healthy snacks nearby to munch on instead of the other salty snacks you might be used to.
  4. Prepare your post drinking meals ahead of time so you don’t go for junk food at the end of the night.
  5. Water is your BEST friend. Have a glass of water between every drink and you might escape a hangover!
  6. Don’t sweat it out the morning after if you’re feeling low, you risk injury, more dehydration, and low performance. 

Hope this helped guys! You can live a balanced life filled with exercise, alcohol, ice cream, better sleep, and stress-free days when you have the knowledge, and you make intentional daily choices to help you move forward or hold you back.

If you haven’t yet, I would love to see you in Fit & Fab Live Workouts, you’ll be working out with me 4 times a week and getting SO much nutritional do’s and don’ts sent straight to your inbox, coming up this November on the 16th. Click here for more info! 

If you haven’t yet, I would love to see you in Fit & Fab Live Workouts, you’ll be working out with me 4 times a week and getting SO much nutritional do’s and don’ts sent straight to your inbox, coming up this November on the 16th. Click here for more info! 

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