Usually I find clients that are eating pretty clean all the time with no extra carb or sugar craving must be getting the calories from somewhere else. Usually it's wine. Even though its not technically a chocolate bar or a doughnut as you can see in the table above the calories can equal the same. If you are exercising regularly and eating healthy 80% of the time but find you are holding weight especially around your waist those sneaky nightly wines may be the culprit.
Even if you opt for a straight spirit without added calories through added juices or soft drinks you will still put on weight and I will explain why.
First lets define a standard drink as pictured above. All of these above generally will contain 15g of alcohol. Every gram of alcohol you drink equals 7.1 calories. Although there is a thermic effect to process the alcohol so its closer to 5.7 calories per gram. On top of that you will need to add the total amount of carbs which beer, wine and shots can avergae from 64-250+ calories per standard drink. It is much higher for cocktails, drinks with mixes and pre-mixed drinks.
On top of the obvious extra calories consumed with alcoholic drinks there is also another factor which comes into play which will prevent you from burning fat. This is the way our bodies naturally process alcohol. After you have your first drink of alcohol your body will try and get rid of the alcohol quite quickly. Alcohol is broken down into acetate which the body recognises as a very dangerous by product. Remember our body system is designed to survive. Naturally the body will use the toxic by-products as fuel before using carbs as energy. After only one and a half standard drinks fat burning will decrease by 75%. Even though very little alcohol will be stored as fat all carbs and fats will be stored at a much higher percentage. Depending on how much alcohol you drink your body can store food eaten around 48 hours from the time that you had your first drink until the alcohol is out of the body.
Remember what I said in my article how getting a good night's sleep is important for weight loss? Read here. Well turns out that alcohol consumption will also affect your sleep patterns and if you read my article you will know what that means in terms of your weight loss results. After your first couple of drinks your brain will increase the use of GABA (inhibitory neurotransmitter). After time GABA gets used to the effects of alcohol which has people consuming more. GABA is the neurotransmitter also responsible for allowing you to stay in a deep sleep. If you drink before you go to sleep your brain has used more GABA which means you have less when you are asleep. Not a restful sleep.
Now its not required to completely go without drinking alcohol at all but moderation is key. One or two glasses one or two nights a week wont hurt but you need to keep this in the back of your mind. The leaner you are the stricter you need to be.