Weekly Wellness

Weekly Wellness

by Laura Dillavou

The freshman 15 has come; it has taken up a permanent residence right around your belly button.

Ah, don’t you just adore this college right of passage?

If you have noticed that this extra weight has indeed occurred, you are not alone. Alcohol is the main cause of weight gain for many people when they come to college.

While alcohol is potentially dangerous when taken in large quantities, it is also a beverage that stores many empty calories, leading to fast weight gain in a short amount of time.

Alcohol can be broken down into two types: grain-based and fruit-based.

Grain-based alcohol is what college students are most familiar with – beer, whiskey and vodka. Grain-based alcohol is high in starch, similar to foods like potatoes or pasta. Carbohydrates fill you up and, unfortunately, out.

Eating too many of these types of foods can lead to an expanding waistline, not too mention that withholding of fat is upped. That’s why when you drink, especially beer, you are filled up and feel and look bloated.

Among common beers, such as Budweiser, Miller High Life and Old Milwaukee, the average calorie content per 100 ml is 42 calories. A typical shot glass is 1.5 ounces.

In fruit-based alcohol like wine and brandy, the calories come from high sugar levels. This sugar is another form of an empty calorie. The energy drawn from these sugars is indeed energy (think dancing, etc.) but it is not used as efficiently as sugars from an apple would be.

A five-ounce glass of wine contains around 90 calories, but a glass isn’t always five ounces- many hold much more than that. On the other hand, a single shot glass of brandy contains a whopping 97 calories.

While there is no fat in alcohol, when you mix drinks and add strong liquor like Kaluha, the fat content immediately increases. For example, a 4.5-ounce pina colada contains 262 calories and 2.6 grams of fat.

A screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) contains 174 calories, but only .1 grams of fat. Combine any of these drinks with some chips, pizza or other snack type food, and the calorie as well as the fat content will rise dramatically.

As with any extra weight, your freshman (or sophomore, junior or senior) 15 can be worked off through dedicated exercise and abstinence from the alcohol.

This kind of weight is the hardest to be worked off, because of the simple fact that people’s lifestyles don’t usually change.

Stick with it, and you’ll be ready for that swimsuit come June.