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The Dukan Diet and alcoholic drinks
It is often said that France is the nation that drinks the most wine in the world and this is true. Yet, it has not stopped 10 million French people from following my diet and giving up alcohol to then drink again in "normal doses" during the Consolidation phase and even more so in the permanent Stabilization phase.
When I decided to take my method across the Channel, my publishers, my translators, journalists and in fact everyone told me to adapt my diet to fit with the Anglo-Saxon way of life and make some allowance for alcohol, beer, scotch and pubs. I listened to them and after weighing up the pros and cons I decided not to. Not because I uphold rigid moral standards and even less to simply contradict them but because losing weight is no easy matter; you have to take ownership and be really motivated.
Very often people put on weight with an "All or Nothing" attitude as they go from being strict to lax. To lose weight you have to re-adopt this approach: either go for it wholeheartedly or do nothing. Between both extremes, you slow down your metabolism, your results and motivation - and you lose the battle. Don't ever forget that a properly followed diet only lasts a few months and this is so little compared with all the benefits dieting brings you.
Any drink containing ethyl alcohol or ethanol is termed an alcoholic drink.
Alcohol is considered to be both a nutrient (a nutritional element) since our bodies can metabolize it and a food since it provides us with calories.
Alcohol is obtained from the fermentation of carbohydrates in a certain number of products: fruits, cereals and even some vegetables/starchy foods and leaves.
The plants are soaked in water then fermented to produce alcohol.
Alcoholic drinks are divided into two categories:
• Non-distilled alcoholic drinks: wine, beer, cider.
• Distilled alcoholic drinks or spirits: aperitifs and whiskies, liqueurs, rum, vodka, etc.
The history of alcohol
Grapes were growing in the Near East in the Tertiary period.
In 5,000 or 6,000 B.C. the first men started crushing grapes to get the juice out of them and from this wine developed.
Distillation dates back to before 2,000 B.C.
For a long time alcohol was also considered to be medicine.
Aperitifs (from the Latin "aperire" meaning "to open") open up and enhance our appetite.
Alcohol and energy
Alcohol is always stated as a percentage of the volume (% vol) on the labels on bottles.
To arrive at the alcohol content in grams, you have to multiply the drink's alcohol content by 0.8.
E.g.: one litre of 10° vol wine contains 10 volumes per 100 of alcohol, i.e. 100ml (10° x 10), which is equivalent to 80g of pure alcohol for one litre (100ml x 0.8).
1 gram of alcohol produces 7 calories. 1 glass is the equivalent of 10g of alcohol or in energy 70kCal or 290kJ.
3 glasses of wine can therefore substitute the energy you get from 1 whole meal but unfortunately they provide no substitute for the vitamins, minerals and trace-elements found in food.
When alcohol supplies superfluous calories that then get added to the calories provided by our food this results in weight gain.
Equivalences between different types of alcohol
One 10cl glass of red or white bordeaux wine is equivalent to:
- One glass of champagne
- One 7cl glass of a wine based 18° vol aperitif
- One 25cl glass of 5° vol beer
- One 2.5cl shot of 45° vol whisky or pastis or brandy
The sugar content in a 10cl glass of wine is the same as in:
- 30g of aperitif liqueurs, sodas, tonics
- 10g of fruit drinks, orange or lemon juice
- 6g of sweet white wine, sweet cider or beer
- 4g of tomato juice
Alcohol and how it is used in the body
Alcohol gets into the bloodstream very quickly then spreads rapidly into the different organs and tissues. A small part of the alcohol absorbed (less than 10 %), is eliminated through our urine, sweat and breathe.
Alcohol provides a lot of energy but this is not used primarily for muscular activity.
The calories it provides help increase body fat (½ litre of 10° vol wine adds an extra 20g fat to our cells).
Alcohol acts straightaway on our nervous system causing us to be exhilarated, uninhibited and giving us a feeling of stimulation.
Lastly, we secrete less of our anti-diuretic hormone when we drink alcohol and this dehydration in turn makes us feel thirsty.
How alcohol can help keep you healthy
2 glasses of wine a day can play a role in preventing risks of dying from cardio-vascular diseases. Alcohol increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Due to its polyphenols it acts as an anti-oxidant.
Alcohol and your health
In several circumstances it is recommended that you cut alcohol out of your diet altogether and in particular if you suffer from dyslipidaemia (i.e. you have an abnormal amount of lipids in your blood), if you are taking medication, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you are a child or teenager or if you have a liver related pathology.
Over many years excessive alcohol consumption may result in chronic health problems.
Alcohol level in the blood
The alcohol level in the blood = Quantity of alcohol in grams / (Weight in kg x Diffusion coefficient)
This coefficient is 0.70 for men and 0.60 for women.
The EU Council Regulation no 1576/89 of 29 May 1989 lays down general rules on the definition, description presentation of spirit drinks.
Categories of alcohol
Alcohol is split into 5 categories:
• Other types of alcohol
Alcohol in the Dukan method
Drinking alcohol when you are dieting will prevent you from achieving motivating results and this is why it is not allowed.
However, it can be used when cooking because when it is heated the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process.
For sauces that have little fat, alcohol is a great way of adding flavour.
Cooking wine is tolerated during the cruise phase, up to 3 tablespoonfuls per day if you cook with the lid off.