Alcohol use is such a common part of our culture, and people so often partake, that we tend to forget the risks that come with it. This doesn’t mean having an occasional glass of wine is terrible, but drinking excessively is linked to very real health concerns, including being overweight.
Consuming alcohol can disrupt proper nutritional levels in the body, depleting essential vitamins and minerals. It can cause a person to eat more or less to consume foods that have little nutritional value. In addition, alcohol consumption can lead to impaired willpower and increased cravings, often for foods that are high in fats and sugars and low in nutritional value. The calories consumed in the form of alcohol are considered “empty” calories.
One of the reasons alcohol and losing weight do not go hand-in-hand is because alcohol has a lot of calories without any nutritional value. You may be drinking hundreds of extra calories or more per day, without even realizing it. Alcohol itself has calories, and what is mixed with alcohol such as juices have loads of calories, sugars and carbs. You may be eating a generally health diet, but if you’re not seeing results it may be because of your alcohol intake.
Know What One Drink Is
Alcohol is prominent for social events, especially with the summer and holidays coming up, so this is a guide to drinking alcohol while trying to stay slim. Like any habit that impacts weight, consistency is the key to getting, and keeping, results. The first step is to know what one drink is. One standard drink is either a 1.5 oz shot of liquor, 5 oz of wine, or a 12 oz beer, all containing about the same amount of alcohol.
Track your drink intake each week to make sure you are drinking in moderation. Most such studies showed that frequent light to moderate alcohol intake — at most two drinks a day for men, one for women — does not seem to be associated with obesity risk.However, binge drinking – consuming five or more drinks on an occasion was linked to an increased risk of obesity and an expanding waistline.
Be Carb Smart
You should also be carb smart. Vodka sodas are known to be the skinny cocktail because both vodka and club soda are carb free. Beer and wine contain a bit more carbs, but mixers such as coke or sour mix can set you back a whopping 25 grams of carbohydrates. Which transitions into our next point; mind your mixers. Use crushed ice with pure juice and fruit to create your own healthier mixes.
Watch Your Food Intake
Not only should you be mindful of your mixers, but also your food intake. Do not skip meals to ‘save the calories’ for drinking. Most cocktails are loaded with simple carbohydrates, so during a night of drinking, you end up with soaring blood sugar followed by a ‘crash’ that leaves you ravenous. Before you go out, have dinner or a snack with protein, fiber, and healthy fat.
Make Sure You Get a Good Sleep
Lastly, remember to get a good night’s sleep! A nightcap before bed may sound like a ticket to a good night’s rest but you may want to reconsider. Research suggeststhat alcohol can lead to increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles. Sleep deprivation, whether from lack of sleep or impaired sleep, can lead to an imbalance in the hormones related to hunger, satiety, and energy storage.
While cutting alcohol completely out of your diet isn’t necessarily the only way to lose weight, there are many improvements that can be made in your health journey by simply cutting back on the booze. You can enjoy a healthier body, improved sleep, better digestion, and fewer of those excess “empty” calories.
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