The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, & The Macros!
The effects of alcohol begin at your very first sip. I am not going to tell you never to drink. Hey, I’m a member of two wineries here in California, so you know I love a good glass of red wine. I simply want to provide you with information about how alcohol impacts your body so that you can drink with knowledge.
The internet is filled with mixed messages about alcohol, including that there can be some health benefits to a moderate amount of alcohol.
The occasional glass of wine or bottle of beer with dinner isn’t a concern, however, the cumulative effects of drinking could be.
What are some of the most common effects of Alcohol on our body:
- Slurred Speech
- Behavior Changes
- Impaired Motor Function
- Stomach Distress
- Muscle Cramps
These effects can happen with even one cocktail, a glass of wine, or beer. So it is important to understand the circumstances you are in before consuming alcohol. Always be sure you are in a safe environment and never plan to drive.
What are some of the less common effects of Alcohol, typically found when over-drinking even on just one occasion, built up over time, or chronic drinking:
- Liver Damage
- Weight Gain
- Heart Disease
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Lung Infections
- Birth Defects
- Risk of Death
- Dangerous Addiction
Some of the effects of alcohol are pretty scary and life-threatening. Therefore, you want to be sure that when you do decide to indulge, that you do so in moderation. Chronic abuse of alcohol can wreak havoc on your body, brain, and increase your risk of many diseases.
How Much is Too Much?
Recommendation for alcohol consumption depends on a variety of things, age, weight, and gender all play a role.
- The heavier you are the less impact alcohol will have on you
- Typically the older you are the more the after-effects will play a tole
- Women typically have a lower tolerance for alcohol, which typically goes back to size and weight.
The average recommendation is typically based on the standard number of drinks per day. However, this does vary from country to country.
In the US, one standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces (14 grams) of alcohol (ethanol). Which typically works out to:
- 12 ounces beer
- 8-9 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of hard liquor
- Moderate drinking is one standard drink per day for women and two for men
- Heavy drinking is more than three drinks per day for women and four for men
- Binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time
What type of alcoholic beverage is best?
Some alcoholic drinks are better than others. However, what you drink matters less than how much you drink.
Red wine is the healthiest alcoholic beverage because it is very high in healthy antioxidants that may protect our body from oxidative stress and age-related disease. However, that does not mean that by drinking more red wine you will be provided with greater health benefits. Heavy drinking of red wine may still lead to any of the symptoms above.
Benefits of taking time off drinking, such as Dry January:
- You’ll sleep better
- Your waistline will shrink
- You may be in a better mood
- You’ll have a stronger immune system
- You will save money
- Your skin will look brighter
- You’ll have a new relationship with alcohol
Macro Counting, How to Track your Alcohol Macros
You see marketing everywhere, only 2 carbs on this seltzer, 3 carbs for this beer, 5 carbs for that glass of wine. But then you look at the nutritional label and it says 100 calories. How do they get to the 100 calories if there are only 5 carbs and virtually no fat or protein?
There are alcohol calories that are not being listed that need to be accounted for. Tricky I know!
So how do you calculate those alcohol calories?
There are three ways:
- Divide the total calories by 9 and add those macros to your total fat.
- Example: 100 calories, divided by 9 = 11 grams of fats
- Divide the total calories by 4 and add those macros to your total carbs.
- Example: 100 calories, divided by 4 = 25 grams of carbs
- Split it 50/50: Divide half by 4 and the other half by 9
- Example: 100 calories / in half = 50
- 50 divided by 9 = 5.5 grams of fat &
- 50 divided by 4 = 12.5 grams of carbs
- Example: 100 calories / in half = 50
However, how you choose to calculate is up to you. I always recommend on days where you know you will be drinking, to try to hit your protein macro goal before drinking. Protein goals will always be hard to hit on days when alcohol is consumed. Hit your protein macro for the day, then focus on which calculation breaks down the fat and carbs the best for you to stay on track!
Summary Effects of Alcohol:
Limit overall alcohol consumption to live a healthier lifestyle. Try to enjoy drinks that have limited sugar. Give yourself time away from drinking, like a dry January. And when counting macros think about how your drink macros will play a role in your day before you start the day or begin drinking, this will help you to stay on track!