Saturday, 14 November 2009

Day 19 (Sixth Post)

I hate to sound smug but I've gone for nearly three weeks now without so much as a glass of wine. One of the most persistent offenders in the dieting world is alcohol - people can't seem to live without it. And of course, I like a drink as much as the next person. I'm certainly not teetotal and don't plan on giving up booze permanently, just for the duration of my Watergirl project. But when we drink our calories we really are sabotaging any other efforts to lose weight.

Think of it like this: what's the worst thing about dieting? I would say, feeling hungry and not being able to scoff treats like chocolate and pizza. But cutting out alcohol doesn't increase your appetite and those calories saved can be 'spent' on occasional choccies and the odd biscuit. Of course, this theory indicates that you're effectively cancelling out the good done by skipping a drink, as you're replacing the calories with food. But, there is a difference between calories gained from nutritional foods and "empty calories" consumed from sources like alcohol.

Say, for example, you shun two standard glasses of wine but eat a Snickers bar for 270 calories instead. There's roughly the same amount of calories in the two but a Snickers bar actually contains some nutritional value such as fibre, calcium and potassium. You don't get this from alcohol – although some alcoholic drinks like red wine can have a positive effect on your health, if you believe the experts.

So you've eaten the Snickers bar and it's stopped the hunger, result. But what happens if you drink the wine? You're still hungry and you're likely to think: 'Sod it, I'll have that Snickers bar anyway,' because now you're feeling a bit tipsy and, let's face it, couldn't give a toss about the stupid diet. So you end up consuming 500 cals and probably more because the bottle is half full (or empty, depending on your outlook in life!) and there's no point in letting the rest go to waste.

Anyway, I'm no nutritionist – this blog is just based on the knowledge I've gathered through the years by dieting and re-dieting, and talking to dozens of women about their experiences. But if you'd like to read a bit more about alcohol and why it's a good idea to cut it out while you diet, read

1 comment:

  1. The Snickers bar is a horrible example if you're trying to stunt your hungry. I don't know how much calcium is in it (I wouldn't eat a Snickers if I was calcium-deficient, nonetheless) but as far as fiber there is only one gram of it in there.

    It does, however contain 30g of simple sugar, which will most certainly trigger an insulin spike. Ignoring glycogen storage issues, where the body may create fat just to store this energy, such a rush of sugar will overstimulate the pancreas into shoving out a ton of insulin.

    It's not a perfect mechanism, though, and because the body may release TOO MUCH insulin, eating sugar may ultimately cause your blood sugar to drop out of a normal range.

    Which signals your body to eat.