The Daily Illini

Blame your weight gain on the alcohol

Berch Kamber

Berch Kamber

By Leah Pearlman, Columnist

As if you need another reason not to get sloppy drunk on your next night out — beyond the fact that you may sleep in through your 9 a.m. the next day or worse, text Josh that you miss him — caloric consumption can be another.

And this reason shouldn’t be taken lightly as the ARC scale won’t measure you that way (lightly) if you have too many nights like these. Ha. Ha.

Think about it like this: A student is going to pregame Tuesday night, or “wine night” as I call it, at Clybourne with some friends by drinking a few vodka shots. We’re all poor college students, so let’s say the group bought Svedka brand vodka.

One shot is 104 calories. Multiply this by four or five shots and these students are reaching at least 500 calories at just the pregame alone, and this is without any chaser.

Continuing with this scenario, the partying friends are now waiting for bottles at the bar. A whole bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandel is 540 calories; simple math can conclude we’ve reached over 1,000 calories. This is also assuming that the student only drinks one bottle at Clybourne, which isn’t always the case as anyone who has been to wine night can attest.

It may be common knowledge that wine is a very caloric drink, but what some may not realize is that mixed drinks are just as high in calories. “The Blue Guy,” the infamous drink at KAM’s, is made up of one shot of vodka and 4-5 ounces of BAM! Energy Drink.

Bill Bodemer, owner of Innovative Beverage Inc., the company that created the BAM! Energy Drink, said that 4 ounces of the drink has 12.5 grams of sugar and 55 calories. This doesn’t sound like much, but this isn’t including the alcohol or how many of those you will actually end up drinking over the course of your time at the bar.

“’The Blue Guy’ does have a lot of sugar content,” said Eric Meyer, the owner of KAM’s. “But we offer a diet BAM! too.”

Meyer mentioned that the diet BAM! drink is one of the slowest movers. But he said if students plan to drink many of them, this is the way he would go.

Drinking many drinks at the bars isn’t specific to KAM’s or Clybourne though. The Red Lion has a similar phenomenon as Catherine Montiel, senior in FAA, can testify to.

“If you’re not trashed at Lion, you’re not going to have a good time … so I’ve seen most people order on average eight drinks at once,” said Montiel.

Montiel also explained that before some of her friends can even walk through the doors of The Red Lion, they want to have had eight or nine drinks. Then once there, they may have up to five more.

Drinking beyond your “tipping point” can make you consume more than just liquid calories. According to a survey by Women’s Health Magazine, binge drinkers consumed around 6,300 extra calories than they normally would on a night without drinking. Based on the self-reported data, 1,476 of those calories were just from the drinks, 2,829 were from drunk munchies that night and 2,051 were from hangover food the following day.

I doubt students take into consideration that the drinking isn’t just the liquid but also the mindset that the liquid gives you. For example, eating an entire tub of ice cream, a bag of Doritos or drunk ordering $16 worth of Chopstix and eating it all in one sitting … or maybe that was just me.

If we can simply realize what it is we are doing to our bodies, we may be able to find ways to drink that don’t cause us to gain weight and be unhealthy.

Drinking heavily less often could be one solution and so could getting in an extra long workout the day before you plan to drink. Since I am 20 years old, I have never tasted alcohol, but I would mix vodka with water and limes to make a fairly good-tasting mixed drink that doesn’t go overboard on the calories. But what would I know?

Yes, we are in college where drinking in binge form is basically a rite of passage. But the idea is to stay educated about what you put in your body. If you are choosing to drink your calories in excess, be conscious of it at the very least. Your body will thank you.

Leah is a junior in Media.

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