Managing Alcohol Consumption when Dieting

If you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol consumption can be a major saboteur, and it is the ultimate enemy to your diet. It is extremely important to limit your alcohol intake, not only for your health, but also for your waistline. You must carefully control how many beverages you consume each week to ensure you stay on track for meeting your weight loss goals.

Dangers of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol poses many dangers to your health, but it’s also a major cause of weight gain. Alcohol contains calories and lots of them, especially if you’re drinking special fruity cocktails and mixing your vodka with juice and soda. Let’s say you’re out with the gals and order a margarita or other blended drink of choice. That cocktail might taste delicious, but it’s packing up to 500 calories, and possibly even more depending on the size. If you start throwing back these drinks like they’re water (which is easy to do after a few), you could drink away your entire daily calorie allotment. What’s more is that alcohol increases your appetite and impairs your ability to make good food choices. Couple a few margaritas with a margarita pizza, and you’ve set yourself back a week.

Alcohol also interferes with your body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat, as it impedes protein synthesis. This is the process by which your body continuously repairs and maintains every muscle group. Since your body views alcohol as a toxin, it will use it as fuel instead of fat, thus impairing your fat burning abilities.

Limiting Alcohol Intake

In order to successfully lose weight, you must severely restrict your alcohol consumption. If you do drink on a diet, be sure you know how many calories are in your beverage, and weigh these against your daily calorie consumption. Don’t indulge in more than one alcoholic beverage a day. A glass of wine or a light beer usually contains around 150 calories. However, if the bartender fills your wine glass especially high, it most likely contains more. Therefore, it is crucial to realize what constitutes “one drink.” One drink is equal to:  

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 6 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor

Making Smart Choices

If you’re at a wedding or another social event, it might be difficult to limit yourself to one drink (but you should still try). Your diet depends on you picking the right drinks and not ones loaded with unnecessary calories. Anything blended, creamy or extremely fruity is not the best choice. If you must indulge in a margarita, try to ensure it’s made from fresh lemon and lime juice and not a sugar-laden mix.

Red wine is always a smart choice, as it’s not only on the lower-calorie part of the alcoholic spectrum, but it’s also packed with antioxidants which can actually benefit your health (provided you limit your consumption to one glass). If you are a beer chick, then opt for a light beer, such as Becks Premiere Light, which only contains 64 calories a bottle. If you choose to go for hard alcohol, mix your drink with a calorie-free option such as soda water or diet soda. Steer clear of tonic water, regular soda, energy drinks or juices, as these mixers will add sugar and calories to your cocktail.

Remember that alcohol is not a friend to your health or diet, and always exercise moderation while drinking!

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