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Dietary Alcohol Intake - Safe Levels For Men/Women - RDA for Alcoholic Drinks

Diet and Alcohol Intake

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Advice About Alcohol Intake in Diet

Here are the answers to the most popular questions about how much alcohol is safe to drink as part of a healthy diet and weight loss program. See also: Sugar Intake

How Many Calories Does Alcohol Contain?

Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about 4 calories per gram) and only just under the caloric value for fat (9 calories per gram). This means that if you want to lose weight and reduce excess body fat, alcohol is not a good choice.

Examples of Calorie Content of Alcoholic Drinks
- Wine (small glass) - 95 calories
- Beer (12 fl oz glass) - 145 calories
- Spirits (25ml) - 125 calories
- Spirit + regular mixer - 200 calories

Does Alcohol Contain Any Nutrition?

Pure alcohol is an 'empty-calorie' food: meaning, apart from calories/energy, it contains zero nutrition. So not surprisingly there is no RDA for alcohol. Since it serves no purpose, the body burns it immediately as fuel, or stores it as body fat. This is why heavy beer-drinkers develop extra abdominal fat. Once again, a good reason to avoid alcohol if you want to normalize your weight, or maybe develop a flat stomach.

Is Alcohol Drinking Healthy?

Provided you stay within the healthy drinking guidelines, there is increasing evidence that alcohol does confer health benefits, including improved heart health. Wine drinking is a regular part of the Mediterranean style of eating, and red wine is noted for it's content of the protective phytochemical, resveratrol.

Does Excessive Alcohol Cause Health Problems?

Yes. Not only can regular social-drinking lead to over-eating of high-sodium, high-fat snack foods, leading to higher calorie intake and weight gain, but too much alcohol can also cause a wide range of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, (bad for weight loss) and may lead to alcohol-dependency, low fertility, high blood pressure, cancers of the digestive tract, heart disease, liver disease, depression and osteoporosis.

How Much Alcohol is Safe?

The present UK 'sensible limits' for daily drinking are as follows:

For Women
2-3 Units, per day

For Men
3-4 units, per day

'Hazardous drinking' is defined as 15-35 units per week for women, or 22-50 units per week for men.

A unit of alcohol is:

- 10 fl oz glass of beer
- Small glass (100-125ml) of wine
- 25ml serving of spirits
- 50ml glass of fortified wine (Sherry/Port)

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