Beer Bellies & Cocktails - A Quick Lesson On Alcohol...

Every system in our body is affected by the alcohol that we drink - our central nervous system, gut, intestines, circulatory system, hormones, liver, pancreas and reproductive system. So, if so many systems are affected, perhaps we should take a closer look at the choices we are making around alcohol.

Alcohol is considered a toxin to the body, and can’t be stored – for this reason, when we drink alcohol the body gives it priority to metabolize and get rid of (ahead of all other systems). The body therefore uses this as the primary energy fuel – thereby slowing down the “fat burning” process. It is estimated that alcohol slows fat burning potential by up to 36%. Around 20% is absorbed and goes directly into the bloodstream, and straight to the brain. The rest gets absorbed in the gut, and gets excreted via our saliva and sweat (can anyone say brandy breath?)

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On average, a healthy liver is able to metabolize around 1 unit of hard liquor/hour, which is where the idea of “one drink per hour” comes from. The current recommendation is 14 units/week for women, 21 units/week for men,with at least 2-3 alcohol free days. Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 11.11.26 AM


Some ideas:

  1. Mixing your drinks with soda water and using fresh lime or lemon as opposed to cordials is a good idea. Tonic water is high in sugar – 9g per 100ml, or almost 2 teaspoons.
  2. Choose light beers over regular where possible
  3. If you know you are going out for a drink with friends, make sure you have a good, healthy meal before you head out.
  4. Drink plenty of water in between drinks (especially now in summer), and add ice to your drinks. When you get home, have 2 – 3 glasses of water before bed.
  5. Cocktails can range from between 100 - 400 calories per drink, so keep these for special occasions.
  6. If weight loss is your goal, alcohol should be kept to a minimum, and definitely not every day. If you are opting for a drink or two, steer clear of a carb-heavy meal, as the alcohol already has plenty of carbohydrates and sugars in.

Remember that a healthy diet and exercise go a long way at combatting the effects of alcohol - and the so called “beer belly”. 



Single Gin and Tonic 140 kCal
Double Gin and Tonic 212 kCal
Double Gin and Tonic 212 kCal
Bottle Windhoek Lager 112 kCal
Bottle Windhoek Light 96 kCal
150ml Glass of wine 120 kCal
Single Brandy and Coke (200ml) 170 kCal
Double Brandy and Coke 255 kCal
Mojito (250 ml) 215 kCal