With Labor Day weekend upon us everyone wants to know how they can stay on track with their nutrition and health goals while still partaking in activities and enjoying time with friends and family. So, what’s the deal with alcohol and weight loss? Can I still consume alcohol and lose weight? The answer is YES and the explanation is simpler than you might think!
· Alcohol is 7 calories per gram, second only to fat which is 9 calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrates clock in at 4 calories per gram.
· Often-times, the alcohol itself isn’t the culprit in over-consumption of calories. It’s what you mix it with. Soda, juices, and other high calorie liquids can add hundreds of calories to your day without you even thinking about it.
· When we consume alcohol, it is recognized as a toxin by our body; So, it is top priority to metabolize that alcohol before anything else. This can contribute to fat storage or carbohydrates being stored as fat when they are not broken down and utilized as energy for our cells.
· Alcohol also slows down muscle protein synthesis, or MPS (a fancy name for building muscle). What this means is if you’re in the gym working hard for that muscle, consuming too much alcohol especially too soon after your training session can hinder your progress. Also, bear in mind that the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism is and the easier it is for you to lose body fat.
· Alcohol consumption can impair our judgment, and this also includes our will power to say “no” to unhealthy food options…late night Taco Bell, anyone?
· In addition to impairing our judgement, alcohol naturally increases our appetite as the quantity we consume increases.
· Many commonly enjoyed alcoholic beverages, like beer and fruity cocktails are very easy to drink so you are more prone to over consuming those types of things. Consequently, those beverages also have more calories than some of the alternatives we will discuss later.
· Alcohol also depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals. This, along with dehydration is what causes the dreaded hangover. Enjoy responsibly and order a water between each alcoholic beverage. This will help combat dehydration, as well as your consumption.
· Hangovers can lead to poor lifestyle choices the day after drinking, delaying progress even further.
Making Smart Adult Beverage Choices
My top choices for alcoholic beverages that won’t break the calorie bank. Still enjoy responsibly and in moderation! 😊
1) Any clear liquor can be mixed with water or tonic then a water enhancer such as Mio or crystal light can be used for added flavor.
2) Stick with one type of alcohol for the duration of the time you are drinking to minimize ill effects the next day
3) Diet soda or light juices are the best mixers for any type of alcohol
4) Light beers or spiked sparkling waters are the smarter way to indulge in a malt beverage.
5) If you are going out for a night on the town, once you start drinking, stop eating. It will reduce the temptation to overeat or to eat something you may not normally eat.
6) There is no need to overcomplicate the process or feel any guilt if you deviate from your plan…simply get right back on track tomorrow and use it as a learning experience.