How’s your dry January looking? Yeah me neither. Despite our best intentions, the inherent depressingness (a real word I assure you) of January can cause many to return to the drink not long after having sworn off it. But if we better understood the benefits of quitting drinking, would we be so quick pop another bottle open?

Alcohol and body weight

I love a glass of wine at the end of the day, it helps me to forget how much I hate people. But simply drinking the recommended daily allowance of three units (roughly a large glass of wine) adds anything from 250 to 500 calories a day to your diet.

If you’re not exercising regularly, those calories will quickly catch up with you. Eliminating those 500 calories from your daily intake could see you lose about a pound a week… just from cutting out drinking!

Some booze stats:

  • Regular beer has about 150 calories per 12-ounce serving
  • White wine has about 100 calories per 5-ounce serving
  • Bloody Mary has about 120 calories per 4.6-ounce serving
  • Mixed drinks are particularly high in calories
  • Mudslide having as much as 820 calories
  • Margarita providing 327 calories
  • Rum and Coke about 361

Binging is worse for you

A review published in Clinical laboratory Sciences in 2005 suggested that alcohol has a more significant effect on those who don’t drink often, those who are overweight, and those with a high-fat diet. This means that if you’re not a regular drinker, you will tend to see the most benefit – in terms of weight loss – from quitting drinking.

Small changes can make a big difference

If the idea of a dry January makes you want to hang yourself (and I’m not entirely sure I’d blame you) then you can still make some small changes that will reduce the effect alcohol has on your body weight.

Start by breaking the habit of having a drink with dinner. A review published by Physiology & Behaviour in 2010 saw how drinking alcohol either before or during meals correlated with an increase in the number of calories consumed during the meal.

This could just be because your wine buzz makes you less aware of how much you’re eating, or it could be related to the subsequent spike in blood sugar that comes with drinking alcohol.

Drink responsibly

Do we really need to mention that if you are drinking, then please do so responsibly.

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