Probably one of the most difficult parts of trying to lose weight is giving up alcohol. Drinking is a social activity and is often associated with having a good time or relaxing. Unfortunately, those extra calories add up to extra pounds on the scale and impede weight loss. Whether you are in the maintenance phase of the program or still trying to lose weight, this guide will help you to make the best choices possible when consuming alcohol. And just remember, everything can be enjoyed, but in moderation.
How is alcohol broken down in your body? Carbohydrates, proteins and fats can all be broken down by the body and used for energy, or for storage. Alcohol cannot stay in its natural state in the body and therefore must be metabolized immediately or it is used to produce fat. Alcohol is broken down and excreted by the liver.
What are the positives? Small amounts of alcohol can lower the risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Resveratrol, found only in red wine, has been shown to prevent damage to blood vessels, increase HDL (good Cholesterol), reduce cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of blood clots. Some studies show that 12 oz of beer per day can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Good to know: 1, 5 oz glass of red wine is 122 calories. 1 glass of wine each night for a week = 854 calories. In one month that equates to 3,416 ‘empty’ calories or 1 lb of weight. 1 lb per month will accumulates to a 12 lb weight gain in one year! Also, there is no distinct difference in the calorie level between high end and inexpensive hard liquors.
What are the negatives? Alcohol consumption leads to intoxication—physical and mental changes due to alcohol intake—and dehydration. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and causes you to make poor choices that you wouldn’t when sober (i.e. eating that giant burrito). It also places stress on the liver because it has to work to break down toxins quickly. It also leads to obesity, hypo/hyperglycemia, heart disease, stroke, high BP, and other deadly conditions.
How much should I drink? It is recommended that women drink no more than one serving per day and men consume no more than two servings per day.
Here are some tips for minimizing the impact of a fun night out:
Check out these common drinks and their calorie-saving versions:
|Original Version||Lightened Up Version|
|Regular Margarita: 400 kcals||Skinny Margarita (sub lime juice): 100 kcals|
|Rum and Coke: 260 kcals||Rum and Diet Coke: 92 kcals|
|Gin and Tonic: 255 kcals||Gin and Diet Tonic: 65 kcals|
Suggestions from the popular book: Drink this Not that!
|DRINK THIS||NOT THAT|
|Beach Cocktail||Mojito: 160 calories, 15 g sugar||Long Island Iced Tea: 700 calories, 40 g sugar|
|Classic Cocktail||Bloody Mary: 150 calories, 10 g sugar||Pina Colada: 625 calories, 70 g sugar|
|Beer||Guinness: 130 calories, 1o carbs||Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: 175 calories, 12 g carbs|
|Cocktail||Cosmopolitan: 150 calories, 12 g sugar||Margarita: 500 calories, 32 g sugar|
|Light Beer||Beck’s Premier Light: 64 calories, 4 g carbs||Bud Light: 110 calories, 7 g carbs|
Alcohol doesn’t have to be a diet-breaker. If you plan ahead, you can easily stay on track with your healthy lifestyle!