The affects of alcohol addiction can be far-reaching. Not only can alcoholism affect your social life, your professional relationships, your family, your financial security, and your health, but also your nutrition.
What does alcohol use have to do with nutrition? In honor of National Nutrition Month®, we’re exploring alcohol and nutrition.
The Facts About Alcohol & Nutrition
Alcohol Use Inhibits Nutrient Absorption
That’s right — even if you try to offset your alcohol consumption by eating well, drinking can affect how your body takes in nutrients like vitamin B1 and B12, zinc, and folic acid. Vitamin B1 deals with protein and fat metabolism as well as hemoglobin creation, making it key in processing carbohydrates. Vitamin B12 helps keep blood and nerve cells healthy, while folic acid helps in new cell formation and zinc is involved in metabolism.
Alcohol has relatively little nutritional value to justify its calorie count. Calories from alcohol aren’t converted to glycogen, a type of stores carbohydrates, meaning alcohol calories aren’t useful in physical activity. Irnstead, your body converts alcohol sugars as it would fat, transforming them to fatty acids.
Calorie Counts in Alcohol
Calorie values in alcohol differ depending on the brand and type of alcohol being consumed. Here are some general benchmarks for various alcoholic beverages.
- 12 oz regular beer = 150 calories (instead, you could drink an orange smoothie containing 1 seedless orange, 1 cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, 1 tsp honey, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 oz margarita = 270 calories (try a banana and 1 cup cottage cheese for better nutrition)
- 1.5 oz whiskey = 105 calories (the same as 10 baby carrots and 2 tablespoons of hummus, but without the health)
- 6 oz merlot = 145 calories (you could eat a small pear and a stick of low-skim mozzarella string cheese instead)
Bottom line, alcohol is not great for anyone’s nutrition, and the more you drink, the worse the effects. Educating yourself and others, including your employees, on the adverse effects of alcohol on nutrition can help prevent costly medical expenses and dangerous health results. If you suspect that an employee, friend, or loved one has an issue with alcohol addiction, the first step is to help them acknowledge the problem with alcohol testing. Find your local Test Smartly Labs for quick and accurate alcohol testing today!