To stay slim, lay off the alcohol

Marian Kassis

Lets face it, both fitness and alcohol seem to be at the top of our priority list this day in age, whether it be staying fit to keep up with the latest fashions or drinking to get into the party scene. However, the two do not do each other mercy.

Alcohol is loaded with calories. Even the “light” drinks are not so light. Not to say that your everyday non-alcoholic beverages are not just as bad, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to stick to alcohol. Here are a few of the top-sellers and their nutrition facts:

So you may think that cutting down on food when drinking can somewhat serve as a wash; more calorie intake here, less calorie intake there. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works.

Drinking does not satisfy your hunger. If anything, it does just the opposite. Alcohol lowers blood sugar levels and when sugar level reduces, it sends signals to the brain that you are hungry. Therefore, what follows shortly after a drink or two is the term commonly known as the “drinking munchies.”

Eating a proper meal before you drink will line your stomach and slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, which may help you avoid the infamous “beer belly.” The beer belly is actually caused by a more complicated effect that alcohol has on the body’s metabolic system.

Surprisingly, less than 5 percent of the alcohol consumed is stored as fat. However, it is the other 95 percent that should be of concern.

Simply put, the body uses whatever you feed it as a source of fuel to burn for energy. Alcohol reduces the amount of fat the body burns because it puts all the fat aside and starts burning the acetate that the alcohol produces as its main source for fuel.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S Department of the Treasury (TTB) issued Notice No. 73 on July 31, 2007, proposing a rule that would require mandatory labeling of nutrition facts on all alcoholic beverages. Comments about the proposed rule are due in January of 2008.

All in all, everything in moderation will not do much harm. It is always good to know what you are putting into your body and the effects it may have on it.

Taking precautions or choosing the right foods to eat should be looked at as more of a lifestyle then a “diet” of any kind.