Alcohol..The good, the bad & yes, it can get ugly!

Many call it the social drug…We use it but many abuse it. So what are the facts behind alcohol. Does it have any nutritional benefits? Does it interfere with weight loss? How much? For many of you who consume alcohol, I thought I would put down a few facts that everyone should know..
Fact 1 – Alcoholic drinks are generally high in calories and depending on the type of drink, alcohol can add a significant amount of energy to your daily intake. They also provide carbohydrate, mainly in the form of sugars. Once consumed, alcohol is absorbed straight from your stomach into the bloodstream. Once alcohol has entered your bloodstream it remains in your body until it is processed. About 90-98 per cent of alcohol that you drink is broken down in your liver. The other 2-10 per cent of alcohol is removed in your urine, breathed out through your lungs or excreted in your sweat.

Fact 2
– A standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram)
. Examples of what standard drink is:
  • A pint (425ml) of light beer
  • 285ml (a Pot) of regular beer
  • A small glass (100ml) of wine
  • A glass of fortified wine – port or sherry (60ml)
  • A nip (30ml) of spirits or liqueurs

In some places, wine is offered in 140ml or 200ml glasses where a 200ml glass of wine contains approximately 2 standard drinks. So trying to quantify what a standard drink is can be tricky sometimes.

Fact 3 – Some studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption (around half a standard drink a day) may provide health benefits for some by reducing the risk of some types of cardiovascular disease. However, the evidence behind the downfalls associated with alcohol consumption outweighs its benefits. Risk of developing health problems such as liver cirrhosis (destruction of your liver) and some cancers becomes greater with increased consumption.

Fact 4 – Alcohol is believed to promote fat storage by slowing fat and carbohydrate digestion and increasing your appetite resulting in an even higher energy intake. This can make it quite difficult for people who are trying to lose weight. For a break down of the calorie content of different alcoholic beverages, you can ask me at

Fact 5 – For those who consume alcohol, aim to have 2 to 3 alcohol free days if you tend to drink on a regular basis. As a general guide – Adults can have up to 2 standard drinks per day. Some guidelines suggest men have no more than 4 standard drinks per day and women, no more than 2 drinks. My advice – No more than 2 for both men and women.

Bottom line is, you can enjoy a drink every now and then, but if in excess – your health is at risk. Even though alcohol may provide some small benefits, those who do not already consume alcohol are not encouraged to start…

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