We hear advice all the time that wine in moderation is healthy, or that beer can be beneficial to the body. But those “skinny” margaritas or light beer may be misleading us in more than one way. If you are trying to live healthy, lose weight or just increase your understanding about a nutritious lifestyle, there’s a big connection between blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the body metabolism index (BMI) that you may be missing.
For those counting, alcohol has around the same amount of calories as pure fat.
So, what’s the connection? There are a few to consider, but we can focus on the sugar that is in alcohol as the most obvious culprit. Too much sugar leads to weight gain. Too much alcohol means too much sugar. Therefore, too much alcohol leads to weight gain. Too much alcohol or a high BAC obviously leads to bad decisions outside of having a cheat day, too, like that decision to drive home after drinking.
Why can’t we just stop drinking at one drink? The body likes sugar, despite our best efforts. The body also likes alcohol. Both of those can be tough to pass on. The higher BAC a body has, the more likely it will just keep drinking more alcohol. That’s the same reason people end up drinking and driving, and living the next few months with an ignition interlock device; because they lose their perspective on how much alcohol (and sugar) they’ve consumed.
Who is to blame for the not-so-diet-friendly, BAC-fused beverages at our happy hour hangout?
The skinny cocktails and marketing of these kinds of drinks are some of the reasons researchers speculate that women are drinking and driving more, too. A 2014 report shows women are facing DUI charges at a higher rate – almost 20 percent more – than in decades past. It’s easy to think that lower alcohol percentages may allow just one more drink with friends, ultimately leading to a higher BAC (and calorie count) than intended. Women also have a different rate of metabolizing alcohol (that’s why the BAC charts are separated by gender).
With all the things that can go wrong by drinking too much, it only makes sense to have a plan for how many drinks you’ll have during happy hour, and to stick to it. Your waistline and your criminal record will be a lot lighter, and you can enjoy just one more “skinny” margarita in good conscience, knowing you have a safe ride home at the end of the night.