Whether you’re going on spring break, meeting leprechaun pals out for St. Patrick’s Day, or hitting a Friday night happy hour, there are ways to offset the “Dad bod” if you plan to imbibe on adult refreshments. First, it’s important to know that alcohol provides seven calories per gram and contains mostly ethanol, an intoxicating and flammable liquid. “I wouldn’t categorize alcohol as a macronutrient, because we don’t need it for survival like carbohydrates, protein, and fat,” says Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Nutrition Studios. “But you can fit it into a calorie range.”
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Bodybuilders Drinking Guide
When you consume alcohol, blood vessels carry the booze to your stomach and intestines, where it’s metabolized in the liver. “The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol, coverts it to acetaldehyde, which then converts into acetate. This process puts a halt on fat oxidation because the body burns acetate first,” White says.
To hack alcohol’s weight-gain effects, estimate how many calories your drinks contain, then either exercise them off before the cab arrives or alter your diet. “This is subjective, but try cutting back at a 2-to-1 fat-to-carbs ratio,” says White. Three Bud Lights have 330 calories. Divide 330 by 1.5 to find an approximate amount of fat calories to drop and divide 330 by 3 to find how many calories of carbs to cut. White says vodka is the “cleanest” hard liquor since it has the fewest congeners (toxins). Consider the low-calorie drinks on the following slides if you choose to (responsibly) booze. Your abs will thank you.