One drink equals: 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer, 1 (5 ounce) glass of wine, or 1 (1.5 ounce) jigger of gin, whiskey, vodka, or scotch. The drink you are poured at a party, bar or restaurant may vary considerably from the standard. Mixed drinks with multiple shots or add-ons such as soda, cream, coconut juice, and sugar can increase both the calories and volume of alcohol consumed.
Add alcohol to a meal and you stimulate your desire to eat, making it more likely you'll overeat. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. The same effect that makes one drink lead to another can also lead you to a second helping off the buffet table or a second slice of cheesecake.
It's a common misconception that alcohol used in cooking doesn't reach the dinner table. If red wine is added to a pot roast and cooked for over 2 hours, 5% of the alcohol still remains. When items are flamed in alcohol, like cherries jubilee, 75% of the brandy remains. If wine is used to deglaze a pan, boiling it for a few minutes, 85% of the alcohol remains. Bake fish in sherry for 30 minutes and over one-third of the alcohol is still there when the fish is served. Bottom line: cooking with alcohol adds calories to a dish.
What about the morning after headache? Almost everyone has a magic cure for a hangover. While some suggestions might help ease the symptoms - time, good food, and lots of liquids are really the only way to recover. It takes time for your body to process alcohol and there is no way to speed that up. Sleeping doesn't cure a hangover but you may be less aware of the discomfort because some of the recovery occurred while you slept.
Don't fall for the myth that coffee can sober you up or cure a hangover. It is a liquid so it will help you recover from the dehydrating effects of too much alcohol. But when you chase alcohol with caffeine, you may relieve a headache temporarily but soon both the headache and caffeine jiggers will return.
When it comes to hangovers, sex does count. Women are generally smaller than men, with more body fat and less muscle. Alcohol is diluted into water-holding muscles, not into fat tissue, and women have less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. So, alcohol builds up faster, is broken down more slowly, and stays in a woman's body longer.
Prevention may be the best cure for a hangover. Eat and drink water before you drink alcohol. Alcohol is absorbed more slowly on a full stomach. Dilute your alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages - sparkling water, tonic, ginger ale or even lots of ice. And, most importantly drink moderately.
To help keep calories in check, you should know:
Drink Calories Size
Beer 150 12 ounces
Light Beer 100 12 ounces
White wine 115 5 ounces
Red wine 110 5 ounces
Hard liquor 90 - 110 1.5 ounces (jigger)
Martini 206 3 ounces
Do you know why James Bond always ordered his martinis shaken, not stirred? Two researchers, both of whom are avid Bond fans, published a review of Bond's alcohol intake (http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7255) and concluded that he drank more than four times the maximum alcohol recommendation for an adult male. This would put him at risk for multiple health problems including alcohol induced tremors which made it unlikely he could stir his martini, even if he wanted to. They concluded their tongue in cheek review with this advice to Bond: Although we appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high stake gamblers, we would advise Bond ... to reduce his intake to safe levels. Good advice for all during the holidays.
© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
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The Ultimate Carbohydrate Counter, 3rd Ed., 2010
The Healthy Wholefoods Counter, 2008
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For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to: www.TheNutritionExperts.com.
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