What role does alcohol play in your diet?
Alcohol comes from fermenting starches and sugars. Alcohol has about 7 calories per gram. These are considered “empty” calories because alcohol contains no beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Alcohol has about 7 calories per gram. These are considered “empty” calories because alcohol contains no beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
A 12-ounce beer contains about 150 calories. Sugary, carbonated beverages and fruit juices contribute additional calories when mixed with alcohol in a cocktail.
Beers, wines, and liquors all contain different amounts of alcohol. In general, a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor have about the same amount of alcohol and the same number of calories.
Beer is 3 – 8% alcohol. “Light” or lower-calorie beers are closer to 3% alcohol. “Hard” liquors contain about 40% alcohol and tend to be higher in calories.
White wines average 12% alcohol, and red wines average 14% alcohol.
“Proof” means the alcohol content of distilled liquors. It is the percentage of alcohol multiplied by two. For example:
50% alcohol = 100-proof
100% alcohol = 200-proof
Drinking alcohol affects your nervous system and acts as a mild anesthetic and tranquilizer. It is harmful if consumed in large amounts. It can be an addictive substance. Alcohol is a leading cause of traffic accidents in the United States because it slows reaction time and impairs judgment.
Moderate drinking is defined as 1 – 2 glasses of beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverage daily. Moderate alcohol consumption, especially when combined with a Mediterranean-style diet, has been shown to improve cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) health.
Alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus, throat, larynx, mouth, and breast.
Drinking alcohol can damage the lining of the small intestine and the stomach, which affects the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients.
Alcohol can impair sexual function, even though it may increase your interest in sexual activity.
Pregnant women should not drink alcohol. Alcohol intake during pregnancy has been identified as the cause of fetal alcohol syndrome.