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WHAT’S BOOZE GOT TO DO WITH IT: ALCOHOL AND DIETING

Perhaps you like the occasional glass of wine? Or perhaps you do like more than the occasional glass, and dinner isn’t complete without a can of beer or another kind of alcoholic beverage?

If you’ve ever been on a diet, particularly a low carb one with the intention to burn calories, you must have heard several times that alcohol is not good for you. In fact, you might have been told that it is a no-go area. In recent years, low carb diets have gained popularity and are widely acclaimed as an effective way to improve health generally and to lose weight. To follow a low carb diet, you will have to focus on eating proteins and healthy fats and cutting down dramatically on high carb foods such as refined grains.

The question then is; Can alcohol can be consumed on a low-carb diet? The answers to this question have been in the past confusing, but no more.

We are clarifying things for you once and for all.

Can you or can you not drink alcohol on a diet?

Beer and most alcoholic drinks have a very high carb content. Starch is one of the primary ingredients for many alcohol drinks, and most of them pack more carbs per serving than soft drinks, desserts and candies. In fact, some drinks (such as hard lemonades) pack as much as 34-gram carb content per serving. This is extremely high. A daiquiri is 33 grams carb content per serving, while a pina colada is 32 grams, a sour whiskey is 14 grams, a margarita is 13 grams, a tequila sunrise is 24 grams and a regular beer is 12 grams.

Another sour truth is that alcohol contains empty calories. This means that is has a high calories content without any essential nutrient, vitamin or mineral that the human body needs.

In fact, research shows that alcohol is the second most calorie-dense edible thing, coming in second after fat. So, if you drink a lot of alcohol, you are adding to your body hundreds of extra calories but not adding any nutrient, mineral or vitamin to it. And if you do not adjust your diet to take cognizance of these extra calories the alcohol is adding, you will increase in weight, no matter the diet you are on.

So, can you or can you not drink alcohol if you are on a diet?

Other adverse effects of alcohol

It has been said that alcohol slows down fat burning, effectively hindering weight loss. This is because your body metabolizes alcohol before other nutrients to use as fuel when you drink. Over time, this will slow down fat burning and cause extra carbs, fat and protein in the diet to be stored as fat tissue. The result is excess body fat.

Heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver due to decreased fat breakdown and increased fatty acid synthesis, and can in due time cause fatty liver disease.

So, can you or can you not drink alcohol if you are on a diet?

The key is moderation

Several research studies have linked excessive amounts of alcohol to weight gain. These same studies suggest that drinking in moderation reduces the risk of weight gain significantly. This means that whether you are on a low carb diet or any other type of diet, the key is to drink alcohol in moderation if you are to maintain an ideal weight.

This alcohol in moderation differs from women to men. Women will do best to curtail their drinking to one standard drink per day and men to two drinks per day.

And thank goodness that there are low carb options for alcohol. If you must absolutely drink alcohol, here are the ones you should go for:

Pure alcohol such as rum, whiskey, vodka and gin are pure alcohol and completely free of carbohydrates

Low carbs: light beer and wine (whether red or white) are very low in carb per serving, coming to only 3 grams per serving on the average.

5 tips to help you cut down on your alcohol intake

Eat first: As much as is possible, aim to never drink alcohol on an empty stomach because when you do, the alcohol is absorbed quickly and you end up drinking a lot. Instead, eat something rich in protein before you drink. This is digested and absorbed slowly and acts as a buffer between you and the alcohol, allowing you to feel the effects of the alcohol fast.

Go for low carbs: Go for wine instead of beer, and for low-carb beer instead of regular beer.

Avoid mixed drinks: Mixed drinks rank amongst the ones with the highest count of calories. When you factor in the calories in the alcohol itself, mixed with the calories from the additional orange juice etc., you’ve just packed on more calories than your body can possibly handle. So as much as is possible, avoid mixing drinks.

Slow down: When you drink alcohol too fast, you get tipsy fast and then tend to overeat afterwards. So slow down. Or better still, order a tall glass of water with every alcoholic drink you order, then alternate sips of alcohol and water to cut your consumption of alcohol in half.

Pre-plan your post-drink meal: Alcohol has been found to be an appetite stimulant, and we are all guilty of mindless eating after a bout of alcohol drinking. To make sure you don’t overeat after drinking, plan your post drink meal before you start drinking. And you know i mean a healthy meal to counteract the effects of the alcohol you’ve just consumed, not a slice of greasy pizza.

So, should you drink alcohol?

From the above, you should understand by now that alcohol intake is not advantageous for a healthy diet or for an effective weight loss plan. If you can, cut out alcohol completely from your diet. And if you must absolutely have alcohol, have it in moderation.

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