The other day, a Bacardi Rum TV ad, passed before me claiming that it had "no carbs" and "no sugar." Bacardi must think we are nitwits, so besotted with booze, that we don't have enough brain cells left to recognize that "no carbs" entails "no sugar." The clear implication of the TV ad to someone like me who was not paying much attention is that Bacardi rum is calorie free. There might have been a written or oral disclaimer countering that inference but I didn't catch it.
The title link confirms what I have said and goes on to say
Even fans of incredibly popular carb-free programs who choose to drink need not deprive themselves of an occasional cocktail because a BACARDI® Superior Rum and Diet Cola cocktail offers a refreshing solution with no carbs and no sugar. It tastes smooth, light and fantastic - with 0 grams of guilt.What Badardi rum does have is alcohol and alcohol is not calorie free. At Wilstar's Low Carb Pavilion, it is said
Alcohol cannot be used directly for fuel by the body. Instead, it goes to the liver for processing. There, it is chemically converted to an aldehyde and then to ketone bodies which are used as fuel. Alcohol contains about 6.9 calories per gram.There is a great irony here -- something that contains primarily alcohol and water is being promoted to the "low carb" crowd. There is another class of products that is running the same scam, namely many of the things you can buy at one of the "low carb" stores in your town. These are the products with low "net carb" numbers. I have before me one of the very tasty Snickers Marathon "Low Carb" energy bars. If you look at the nutrition rating of these bars you discover that this "Low Carb" bar actually has 19 grams of carbohydrates.
So, what are the 16 mystery carbs (19 minus the 3 "net carbs") in my very tasty candy bar? They are sugar alcohols and fiber. The list of ingredients in these bars is neatly covered up by the fold in the wrapper. It lists malitol and sorbitol. Back in the day, sugar alcohols (polyols) like these were used in chewing gum and the wrappers claimed this gum did not contribute to dental caries and those that contained no sugars were relatively safe for diabetics but these wrappers always made quite clear that these gums were not diet products. Now they are, it seems. What changed?
Nothing changed. What happens to sorbitol in the body is not absolutely clear. In a research study of sorbitol metabolism, it is claimed that less than 3% of 35 grams of orally ingested sorbital is eliminated through the urine. What is important about sorbitol for dieters is that ingestion of 35 grams of sorbitol does not significantly increase blood sugar in normal subjects and that sorbitol provides a significantly smaller increase in blood sugar in diabetic patients than ingestion of sucrose. But what is the bottom line for dieters. At Calorie Control it is claimed that sugar contributes some 4 calories per gram while malitol and sorbitol contribute 2.6 calories per gram. Neither is as sweet as sugar but malitol has the virtue of allowing a reduction of fat in a product since it gives a "creamy texture."
The "net carbs" rating for a candy bar like this reflects a deduction of grams of fiber from the total carbs (which, in the case of my bar, reduces us from 19 to 11 grams). This is a legit reduction. There is one gram of sugar, which takes us down to 10 grams of our sugar alcohols. Since malitol and sorbitol each contribute 2.6 calories per gram, we may assume that these guys contribute 26 calories of the 170 total calories of the bar. So, our three net carbs are due to the sugar. We are back where we began -- polyol carbs don't count as carbs because they are actually alcohols sort of like Bacardi rum. Don't worry, you can't get drunk on Snickers "Low Carb" bars.
The beauty of these polyols is their slow metabolism in the body. This makes them valuable to diabetics and also makes them valuable to those who have gone beyond the induction phase of the Atkins diet because there is said to be a correlation between a rapid metabolism of carbohydrates and a rapid onset of hunger. The whole "glycemic index" and "glycemic load" based diets, originally designed for diabetics are useful to all dieters. It is this that drives the low carb diet machine.
What about booze? The role of booze in weight gain and weight loss seems to depend on whether or not the booze replaces food. Alcohol contributes almost as many calories per gram as fat does so. So these calories are not guilt free for dieters, as the Bacardi people suggest. Moreover, it is well-known that alcohol is metabolized and burned (as ketones) first and this slows down metabolism of stored fat. That's the negative side. The positive side is that consumpiton of alcohol also raises the metabolic rate, which could lead to weight loss provided that the alcohol calories replace food calories. So, the ideal way for someone to drink and lose weight is to replace food with booze and become skinny like the alcoholics that can be found on the streets of our cities. What a plan!
Check out Shapefit and Weight Loss for All for facts about alcohol. At least I hope they are facts.