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DRINK AND DRIVE – NO! DRINK AND DIET – MAYBE!

Posted On 2021-08-23

DRINK AND DRIVE – NO! DRINK AND DIET – MAYBE!

 

MODERATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME

 

You shouldn’t drink and drive, right? The same applies to drinking alcohol while you are on a diet. Not necessarily. As with calories, quantity and quality are foremost when it comes to the amount and type of alcohol you consume. Binging on pizza as opposed to snacking on fresh fruit piles on the carbs and, by extension, your weight. Guzzle several Long Island Ice Teas in succession and you are asking for trouble. While the fancy cocktail may sound and taste good, a single serving is loaded with calories – up to 700 of them and more than you’ll find in a double cheeseburger from McDonalds. But no matter what the anti-boozers claim, you can still enjoy alcohol and still lose or maintain your weight. Moderation is key. Let’s see how and why.

 

THE EASIEST SOURCE OF ENERGY

 

We need energy to survive and the source is the chemical energy stored in food, including alcohol. The food and drink that we consume are digested and broken down into molecules to release energy. The problem is that our digestive system is selective in terms of which food it digests first. Your body will always go for the quickest and easiest energy source for fuel, and alcohol provides a much more accessible form of energy than fat. So drinking copious amounts of booze is not a solution if you are on a diet and trying to burn fat. While you may get merrier as the hours go by, the fat will stay. Unfortunately, consuming excess alcohol is the #1 reason why drinking can slow down your weight loss.

 

EMPTY CALORIES

 

Another downside to alcohol is that it abounds in so-called empty calories. Food and drink that have a high-calorie count but little nutritional value are monikered ‘empty calorie’ nutrients. Other than alcohol, these include carbohydrate-based desserts such as cakes, muffins, and doughnuts, energy drinks, butter, and most fast food. So when you have a tipple or two, not only are you preventing fat from being burned, you are not getting any essential micronutrients needed for vital metabolic processes in your body.

 

ALCOHOL ABUSE AND HEALTH RISKS

 

Alcohol is definitely a no-no for those who are unable to drink in moderation. Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram. These calories do not provide any of the carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins or minerals needed to maintain body functions. If you drink large volumes of alcohol, your body thinks that its energy needs have been met. Consequently, you won’t feel hungry and not eat any healthy food. Depriving your body in this way can easily lead to malnutrition. Besides malnutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, particularly in alcoholics, is associated with

 

  • heart disease and high blood pressure
  • liver disease
  • digestive disorders
  • brain disorders
  • some forms of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat and liver

 

Alcohol can also aggravate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. A word to the wise from Abbey Sharp, a Toronto-based dietician:

 

“Excessive drinking can exacerbate depression, increase the risk of cancer, diabetes and ultimately result in addiction."

 

BE A SMART DRINKER

 

Former United States President, Abraham Lincoln, once said:

 

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."

 

Lincoln surely meant drinking beer in moderation, that being the name of the game. And it is possible to moderately imbibe without the habit negatively impacting your health, your workout regime or your waistline. Be a smart drinker by following these guidelines:

 

  • Drink low-carb drinks - vodka, whiskey, scotch, gin and tequila all have zero carbs while wine and light beers have about 3 to 5 grams of carbs per serving. Drinking champagne will save you 35 calories per serving over a sweet white wine.
  • Set yourself a weekly drinking allowance and stick to it. Don’t let anybody tempt you into having ‘one for the road.’
  • Pace yourself. Your stomach absorbs alcohol at a faster rate than it is metabolized by your liver. Sip, savour and enjoy your drink, thereby slowing down alcohol absorption.
  • Avoid eating high-fat or high-calorie foods while you’re drinking.
  • Hydrate and hydrate some more. Rebecca Ditkoff, a New York City-based registered dietitian, says

 

“Make sure that your first drink of the night is a glass of water. Also, pace your drinking with plain H2O or sparkling water — meaning, for every alcoholic beverage you consume you should have one to two drinks of water.”

 

In addition, skip those sugary mixers and don’t forget to eat before drinking.

 

DRINK MODERATELY AND LOSE WEIGHT

 

For those who can drink moderately some clinical research indicates that replacing dietary carbohydrates with alcohol causes body weight loss. With that good news, a final word from Australian personal trainer, Sam Wood, recognized as an expert in the health and fitness industry. As an advocate of moderation, Wood says:

 

“If you want to enjoy a social drink and stick to your weight goals, then it’s about finding a healthy balance, so you can ensure your body will still burn fat for fuel.”

 

So eat, drink, and be merry – all in moderation.

 

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