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The Pandemic , Alcohol Usage and Denial

One of the major “derailers” of weight control is alcohol usage.  This is not a matter of the calories involved, as a light beer or white wine do not contain many calories.  However, the manner in which the alcohol is processed plays a metabolic role in a deleterious manner, leading alcohol intake to be a major culprit in poor weight control.

A recent study showed that during the pandemic, the total alcohol consumption in the U.S. increased by almost 25% and in mothers with young children at home, this number ballooned to a 324% increase from prior to the pandemic.  That is NOT a typo that missed a decimal point (although you are used to many typos in these entries due to them being written at 430 am without my contacts in!).

The reasons why alcohol consumption markedly increased during the pandemic?  The answer to this probably relates to the quest of many for stress/anxiety reduction.  The pandemic has, and continues to be, a major stressor for all of us.  Does alcohol kill the virus, protect us and our families or do anything truly positive for us?  Well, the people that are drinking more must be deriving benefits or else they would be sucking down Diet Cokes or water.  However, whatever “benefits” are occurring are mostly short term in nature.

As difficult as this is, we all need to take a step back and analyze our use of alcohol and whether this is a major barrier to our weight control.  The human brain will play mind games with you, reassuring you that you are having a very “healthy 1-2 drinks a night” whereas reality may be that you are actually consuming lots more than that amount.  People will tend to never overestimate their alcohol consumption, but rather, downplay this.

The Delta and future mutations of Covid will keep coming at us and there is no better “controllable” thing we can implement other than controlling our weight and taking us from a “high risk” person to a much lower risk from getting very sick from the virus.  One of the main components to this will be addressing your alcohol intake and not being in denial.

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