Aperitif Day: does alcohol make you fat?

Every Friday evening we find ourselves sitting with friends at a bar table and reading the menu in search of the tastiest alcoholic drink, regardless of the calorie. Or, the more astute, try to estimate the calorie content present in that glass of wine or in that glass of Spritz, trying to have the least possible impact on your diet. With today’s article and in view of the “Day aperitif“, we will try to put some order on the caloric content of the different alcoholic beverages, paying attention to the influence that these beverages can have on one’s figure and on one’s health.

Is alcohol a nutrient?

Carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers, these are the macronutrients that make up the foods that arrive on our tables every day and among these there is certainly not thealcohol. Contrary to what is commonly believed, alcohol is not a nutrient and its consumption is not useful for the organism or for its physiological functions. You can hide behind the phrase “a glass of red wine a day is good for health“, to justify the intake of alcoholic beverages and give them beneficial nutritional properties. Unfortunately, this is not quite the case, but those antioxidant and beneficial properties are to be connected to micronutrients deriving from grapes, which have little to do with alcohol in itself Alcohol, specifically alcoholethanolit’s a xenobiotic substance, i.e. non-essential and extraneous to the organism and its normal metabolism. This molecule, contrary to what one might think, causes direct damage to the cells of many organs, above all liver and central nervous systemand in particular to the cells of the brain (above all in reference to intakes of large quantities of alcohol).

How caloric is alcohol?

Alcohol (ethanol) contains 7.1 kilocalories (kcal) per gram. Since these calories contain virtually no nutrients, they are referred to as “empty calories“, but they can contribute actively to body weight gain. The alcohol contained in a standard glass contains about 70 kcal, to which must also be added the other calories of the alcoholic beverage, deriving from sugars, syrups e other sodas which are mixed into the final product.

Does alcohol make you fat?

According to what has just been said, alcohol should lead to weight gain. This is true, but in part. Being a toxic substance, as such it has the precedence in hepatic metabolism. This means that it cannot be “set aside” or accumulated as happens for glucose or lipids, but must be metabolized immediately and as a priority. So how does alcohol cause weight gain?

  • The first reason is that alcohol inhibits the utilization of glucose and fatand this, if the caloric balance allows it (hypercaloric diet), causes an increase in body weight.
  • Another reason, which acts indirectly, for which alcohol can potentially make you fat, lies in the fact that it is a substance liquid, not satiatingwhich comes absorbed quickly already at the level of gastric mucosa is that addictive. All conditions that can easily lead to an immoderate and uncontrolled intake, which can generate metabolic imbalances, cellular damage and ultimately weight gain.

The calories of different alcoholic beverages:

Once you understand the main problems related to alcohol intake and the mechanisms that cause weight gain (in a very synthetic way), you need to understand which alcoholic drink can have the least impact on your waistline. One factor that must be taken into consideration is certainly the alcohol degreeThat is directly proportional to the amount of calories of the drink. This means that the more alcoholic the drink, the more calories it will contain.

Some spirits grab the primacy of the most caloric drinks, since in addition to alcohol they also contain sugars, which increase its energy power. For example, dessert liqueurs or vermouth, marsala, and beer contain good levels of carbohydrates (in the form of sugars). Unlike whiskey, grappa, brandy and wine, which contain only traces (approximate to zero). Yet, some of these alcoholic beverages such as Whiskey due to the high alcohol content, compensate well for their overall calorie intake. Below is a table showing the grams of alcohol, the grams of carbohydrates and the respective calories per 100 g of alcoholic beverage:

Whisky 35 0 245
Grappa 34.6 0 242
Brandy 32.9 0 230
Dessert liqueurs 28.2 31.1 314
dry vermouth 15.1 4.0 121
Egg Marsala 14.8 12.4 150
Vermouth dolce 12.4 13.9 139
Bubbly wine 12.1 0.6 87
Red table wine 10.7 0 75
White table wine 10 0 70
Blonde beer 2.8 3.5 34

Fig. CREA food composition tables

There could be a misleading data in this table, i.e. that the calories are reported on one portion of 100 g of drink. Everyone knows, however, that grappa will be served in a very small shot glass, on the contrary a pint of beer which will also be present in large quantities, in half-litre jugs. This will change the caloric intake of each individual drink, if the volume of intake is taken into account.

So which alcoholic drink has the least calories?

Super spirits and sugar-rich cocktails are certainly the most caloric alcoholic beverages, followed immediately by Spritz. In reverse red wine, white wine e beer are the alcoholic beverages they feature fewer calories. But we must pay attention to the “quantity” factor, because it is true that these drinks have a lower caloric value, but it is equally true that it is easier to drink larger quantities. For this reason, we recommend that you pay attention to both the quantity and quality of the alcoholic beverages you consume.

The final opinion, which is also expressed by the vast majority of doctors and nutritionists, is that alcohol should not be consumed. If you drink alcohol it must be on limited quantities and in a way occasional, both for the negative effects on health and because it can contribute to body weight gain. Also, it comes not recommended the intake of large quantities of alcohol in small time windows and away from meals (Anglo-Saxon model) and, on the other hand, the intake of moderate quantities of alcohol, such as wine, during one of the two main meals is preferred.



Food composition tables CREA

#Aperitif #Day #alcohol #fat

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