The 411: Is Alcohol Unhealthy?

NS Kitchen, Nutrition Topics

 

Is Alcohol Unhealthy? | Advice from Nutrition Stripped

As we approach summer, holidays, and vacations, questions about alcohol have been trending in my inbox from you guys and clients. So where does alcohol fit in the Nutrition Stripped lifestyle, your life, and healthy living in general…or does it at all? Today I break down the nutrition of alcohol and explain what it does in our body, what it’s made of, how to make the best choices, how to beat a hangover, and what to make if you don’t drink alcohol in the first place. Bookmark this one for later and be sure to share this with friends!

Cheers!

First things first, let’s start by understanding how alcohol impacts our body, our health, and what to keep in mind when drinking. Alcohol gets a bad rap in the health community, but you can have a healthy relationship with alcohol if you choose by paying attention to your motivation and intention behind drinking, knowing your limits, knowing your current health status (i.e. stressors, illness, burnout, etc.), and overall just being smart about the choices. I hope this post helps you navigate the next time you ask yourself “is alcohol unhealthy?”.

It all starts with how alcohol is digested and absorbed in our bodies and ladies, the men beat us on this one. Men actually have a biochemical advantage at breaking down alcohol over women (because of enzymes and typically larger physiques with a higher % of water), plus our hormonal cycles can change how our bodies react to alcohol. When we drink alcohol, it’s absorbed very quickly through the lining of our stomach and goes directly into our bloodstream (1). Alcohol is broken down into carbon dioxide and water and is high priority for the body to get rid off – meaning it’ll delay everything else until it’s cleared. This can impact our blood sugar levels from the liver working hard to clear the alcohol. Both women and men process alcohol at a rate of about 1 drink/hour, and again the rate will depend on many factors but this is a guideline to keep in mind. For example, if you eat before you drink, which I highly recommend you DO, it’ll decrease the rate of alcohol absorption. Especially those foods with fat and protein which are ideal picks in my book. Keep in mind that carbonation increases the absorption of alcohol (i.e. club soda or any sodas) as well as caffeine which can be a common ingredient in cocktails. Caffeine actually masks the depressant qualities of alcohol which can lead to more drinking, so be mindful of this.

Another factor we ladies need to consider is our hormones. If you’re battling a hormonal imbalance, drinking alcohol isn’t going to be the best option for you. Alcohol can throw our delicate hormonal balance off by increasing cortisol and estrogen while decreasing progesterone (The Hormone Cure is a great resource that dives into this). Drinking alcohol also depletes key nutrients such as B vitamins, A, C, and zinc – you should be mindful of replenishing these, but it’s a more serious health issue to consider if alcoholism is present.

What about calories and weight gain with alcohol?

The nutrition information you’ll find online for alcohol is often incorrect and largely dependent on who is making the drink, what’s put in it, and how much. As a general rule of thumb, keep these measurements in mind:

  • 1, 12 ounce beer = 140-220 (depending on lite or heavy) / 10-30g carbohydrate
  • 1, 5 ounce glass of wine = 80-120 calories / 5-11g carbohydrate
  • 1, 1 ounce of liquor = 90-100 calories / 0g carbohydrate

In a nutshell, calories from drinks can add up very quickly! The best choices when drinking alcohol include vodka, gin, or tequila or clear liquors with club soda, fresh herbs, fresh citrus, bitters, and other aromatics that don’t contribute to the sugar content or calorie content. My favorite go-to drinks are club soda with vodka and lime or fresh lime juice with tequila on the rocks and a pinch of salt (what I call a truly simple margarita). If you want to optimize your cocktail, avoid simple syrups, sugary juice mixes, fruit juices, concentrates, and mixing many alcohols at once.

Is Alcohol Unhealthy? | Advice from Nutrition Stripped

[image source: A Beautiful Mess]

A note on allergens lurking in alcohol… If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, be wary of beer (only a select few are gluten free), liquors, and wines that can be made using rye, barley, yeast, hops, etc. that may cause food sensitivities in some individuals. For me, you guys know migraines were part of my health challenges in high school and will pop up in my adult life if I’m not careful. Wine is a migraine trigger for me, so I typically opt for (preferably organic) white wines, which tend to have fewer histamines and tannins than red varieties (2). Also since I have a gluten sensitivity, if I drink beer I immediately get a stuffy nose, congestion, skin rashes, and itchy eyes (it’s not fun!). So the take home here is if you do have any food sensitivities, be mindful that these will also carry over into drinks.

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN DRINKING

  1. Drink 10 ounces of filtered water (ideally with lemon) for each 1 ounce of liquor/4 ounces wine/ 8 ounces beer. Especially before you go to sleep! Alcohol is a diuretic and will dehydrate you.
  2. Pace yourself. Know your limits, pay attention, and respect those limits.
  3. For an optimal “healthy” cocktail, avoid all simple syrups, juice mixes, juice, etc.
  4. Eat mindfully, before, during, and after.
  5. Reach for a Matcha Tea Latte, Coffee Elevated, or Turmeric Milk Latte the following morning with a Stripped Green Smoothie, followed by an Avocado Asparagus Gazpacho Soup for lunch since it’s loaded with healthful fats, fiber, and B vitamins to replenish those lost during drinking. Added bonus – asparagus is a natural diuretic that helps your body and liver get rid of any excess alcohol hanging around. Also be sure to drink plenty of water and follow the guide to beating a hangover naturally.

I have a hunch you’ll like reading up on these…

Not into alcohol? No worries, you can still enjoy a mocktail (alcohol-free) drink with friends. Try these recipes:

  1. Club soda + juice of 1 lime + 3 mint leaves + 1 teaspoon coconut sugar + pinch of sea salt
  2. Simply Infused Waters made with sparkling water or flat

xx McKel

Resources
(1): http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh294/245-255.pdf

(2): http://winefolly.com/review/what-are-tannins-in-wine/

p.s.

Looking for more nutrition information? I’ve written several eBooks where I go in even more detail about nutrition topics and how to live whole, eat well and feel amazing!

1. click to shop

Share your thoughts

cookbook-footer

See what wellness looks like #IRL

follow @nutritionstripped

Looking for something? Let's find it!

Terms & Conditions

Photography, recipe, and content Policy

Content
All content is copyright of Nutrition Stripped and shall not be copied, replicated, or duplicated. Please be courteous, respectful, and refrain from using it as your own. You may share a recipe or image only by contacting, referring, or directly linking back to Nutrition Stripped.

Photography and Recipe Policy 
We’re extremely flattered when asked to publish NS photography on a website or blog. We ask that if you’d like to share a recipe, photography, or content, you must get permission from the team first. Please keep in mind that all written content, photography, recipes, and general writing are copyrighted materials which have been a labor of love in the production of and have worked very hard to produce it.

Nutrition Stripped policy is as follows if you want to do the following:
To promote a recipe or photograph from my site You may post one photo as long as you give a direct link back to the post where you found the photograph/material including in the content a mention of McKel Hill, MS, RD from Nutrition Stripped. You may not republish the recipe itself. To use my photography for promotion other than sharing my original works you must request permission beforehand, a simple email will do. You may not republish my recipe or multiple recipes without direct permission. We occasionally allow other websites to post my recipes; which is decided at my discretion on a case-by-case basis and mostly with those we have an agreement with for example with my blog writing contributions. Please uphold the standards of the U.S. copyright laws for recipes and mycopyright policy.

 

Nutrition Stripped © 2016

Privacy Policy

Personal identification information
We may collect personal identification information from Users in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, when Users visit our site, subscribe to the newsletter, and in connection with other activities, services, features or resources we make available on our Site. Users may be asked for, as appropriate, name, email address. Users may, however, visit our Site anonymously. We will collect personal identification information from Users only if they voluntarily submit such information to us. Users can always refuse to supply personally identification information, except that it may prevent them from engaging in certain Site related activities.

Non-personal identification information
We may collect non-personal identification information about Users whenever they interact with our Site. Non-personal identification information may include the browser name, the type of computer and technical information about Users means of connection to our Site, such as the operating system and the Internet service providers utilized and other similar information.

Web browser cookies
Our Site may use “cookies” to enhance User experience. User’s web browser places cookies on their hard drive for record-keeping purposes and sometimes to track information about them. User may choose to set their web browser to refuse cookies, or to alert you when cookies are being sent. If they do so, note that some parts of the Site may not function properly.

How we use collected information
Nutrition Stripped may collect and use Users personal information for the following purposes: To improve customer service, information you provide helps us respond to your customer service requests and support needs more efficiently. To personalize user experience, we may use information in the aggregate to understand how our Users as a group use the services and resources provided on our Site. To improve our Site, we may use feedback you provide to improve our products and services. To run a promotion, contest, survey or other Site feature. To send Users information they agreed to receive about topics we think will be of interest to them. To send periodic emails, we may use the email address to respond to their inquiries, questions, and/or other requests. If User decides to opt-in to our mailing list, they will receive emails that may include company news, updates, related product or service information, etc. If at any time the User would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

How we protect your information
We adopt appropriate data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of your personal information, username, password, transaction information and data stored on our Site. Sensitive and private data exchange between the Site and its Users happens over a SSL secured communication channel and is encrypted and protected with digital signatures.

Sharing your personal information
We do not sell, trade, or rent Users personal identification information to others. We may share generic aggregated demographic information not linked to any personal identification information regarding visitors and users with our business partners, trusted affiliates and advertisers for the purposes outlined above. We may use third party service providers to help us operate our business and the Site or administer activities on our behalf, such as sending out newsletters or surveys. We may share your information with these third parties for those limited purposes provided that you have given us your permission.

Changes to this privacy policy
Nutrition Stripped has the discretion to update this privacy policy at any time. When we do, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page and send you an email. We encourage Users to frequently check this page for any changes to stay informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information we collect. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications.

Third party links
Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g. click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you.  These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information.  To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice visit the NAI at http://www.networkadvertising.org. To opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices.

By using this Site, you signify your acceptance of this policy and terms of service. If you do not agree to this policy, please do not use our Site. Your continued use of the Site following the posting of changes to this policy will be deemed your acceptance of those changes. Privacy policy created by http://www.generateprivacypolicy.com last modified on 7/31/13

We allow third party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our Web site.  These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g. click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you.  These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information.  To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice visit the NAI at http://www.networkadvertising.org. To opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices.

Disclosure Policy

Nutrition Stripped works with brands all over the globe that we can stand behind and that we know you’ll love too! Companies and brands will send me products to try or develop recipes with. Whenever I review or refer to a product that was provided to me, I will make it clear in the post, otherwise it is a product that I have purchased and will not necessarily mention in that post. 

Disclosure Policy
This policy is valid starting from 16 June 2013. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Nutrition Stripped. For questions about this blog, please contact Support [at] nutritirionstripped [dot] com.

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

While this blog may be compensated for a review of a product or service, such compensation will never have an effect on the honest opinion that I present on this blog. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content will always be identified.

Questions? Please e-mail Support [at] nutritionstripped [dot] com or refer to the FTC’s ruling on blogger disclosure: FTC Rules on Sponsored Conversations

Release of Liability
Any item promoted/advertised/sponsored on this site that you choose to partake in is your decision and I am not liable for any problems that arise including, but not limited to: not receiving products, receiving broken or damaged goods, seeing an item you bought go on sale after you buy it, technical difficulties with sites that I link to. Furthermore, any information you submit to any external site is at your own risk.

Affiliate Discretion Notice

Nutrition Stripped is a participant of several affiliate programs which is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking directly to sources that Nutrition Stripped genuinely likes. If you click on any of those links, which are known as “affiliate links”, and make a purchase within a certain time frame, I’ll get a small commission. The commission is paid by the third parties, not by you! Affiliate links and resources earned help support my efforts here at Nutrition Stripped, thank you!

Need help? Support

T-shirt Size Chart

Size US Sizes UK Sizes AUS Sizes
Small (S) 2-4 32-34 6-8
Medium (M) 6-10 36-40 9-13
Large (L) 10-14 40-44 13-17

DON’T SEE YOUR SIZE LISTED?

No worries, just shoot us a quick email at [email protected] with SHOP in the subject and let us know what size you’re looking for and we’ll set you up!

Avocado Love t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The boxy crop tee doesn’t show the tummy, just slightly when you raise your hands.

Matcha Matcha Matcha t-shirt is made with a durable 100% cotton blend. It runs a bit on the larger side, but shrinks an entire size due to the cotton.

Kale Made Me Do It t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The sleeves are purposefully a little loose, hanging off the shoulders giving room to move.

Good Food Good Vibes t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The sleeves have a deep scoop showing your side body more than a normal tank, great to show off a touch of your sports bra, lacy bra, or any tank underneath.

Each t-shirt is individually hand screen printed here in Nashville, TN by our friends Grand Palace Printing. Each design is printed multiple times to ensure quality color. A lot of love goes into making every single t-shirt, here’s how to take care of it when it gets to you:

+ Wash cold
+ Line dry or lay flat to dry to retain best color and size

Follow me on Snapchat

Send this to friend