Today I had the pleasure of presenting “The Balanced Bartender’s Guide to Nutrition” for the United States Bartenders Guild Boston. Together we - demystified metabolism by understanding how it works and how to eat to support it, discussed when and what to eat when you are working long hours, and we got real about how the body metabolizes alcohol and how to manage consumption and still achieve nutrition goals.

There were so many great questions and cross dialog among the participants that I chose to share our gleams of wisdom.  

                        I.         Alcohol contains empty calories and has no nutritional value.

                       II.         The body can't store alcohol, so it makes metabolizing booze a priority over all other metabolic processes. When it does this, it’s a quadruple whammy that contributes to weight gain.

a.     It inhibits your body's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat.

b.     Your body won't metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently during the metabolism of alcohol.

c.     Alcohol converts to sugar and enters into the bloodstream so fast that the body desperately races to stash it somewhere it can’t do any harm – IN FAT CELLS.

d.     It causes your metabolism to slow.

                     III.         When you do choose to enjoy alcohol, the following order represents the best choices you can make based on calories and health benefits:

a.     Wine (100 to 120 calories per 5 oz., and has antioxidants).

b.     Vermouth (64 calories per 1.5 oz., and has polyphenol compounds which can promote healthy weight loss).

c.     Hard liquor straight no mixers (100 calories per 1.5 oz.).

d.     Light Beer (90 to 100 calories per 12 oz.)

                     IV.         Before drinking or a long shift at work, remember to eat a healthy combination of lean protein, unsaturated fat and vegetables.  This combination will keep you satiated and blood sugars calm.

                      V.         Have a water back. Booze dehydrates you so every time your body senses a water shortage, it quits burning fat. Aim to drink an extra 8 ounces of water for every drink.

                     VI.         Eat every 3-5 hours to keep metabolism balanced. Make these no bake energy bars to stay energized through your shift.

                   VII.         Exercise! Keep your metabolism fired up, and you’ll be able to enjoy alcohol on moderation without sabotaging your nutrition goals.