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Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain from Drinking Alcohol
A glass of wine a day may keep the doctor away, but having much more than that could lead to a heftier waistline. The reason is that your body treats alcohol like a toxic substance, so when you drink, your metabolic system stops what it is doing (like, say, burning off calories from the last meal you ate) in order to get rid of the alcohol. Unfortunately, the human body cannot store calories from alcohol for later like it does with food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Drinking puts a halt on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and tells your body to break down the alcohol first. That means your body will store whatever you recently ate as fat. Research has also shown that alcohol especially reduces fat burn in the belly (there’s a reason for the term “beer belly”).
That being said, drinking is not entirely bad, as long as you go about it the right way. To support this claim, studies have shown that drinking moderately (about one drink per day) may actually lead to less weight gain over time than not drinking at all. This is likely due to the fact that people who drink alcohol tend to make up for it by eating fewer calories.
Here are some tips on how to consume alcohol while minimizing those extra pounds of weight:
• Always eat before you drink – Have a meal rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fat (e.g. Greek yogurt with berries, almond or hemp butter with an apple, or a protein shake).
• Be aware that some drinks will make you hungrier – The simpler the drink, the better (go for wine or beer instead of a cocktail).
• Avoid juices, liqueurs, colas, tonics, and sugar-loaded bottled mixes like margaritas and daiquiris.
• Have no more than a drink or two a day – Note: that does NOT mean you can substitute a drink a day for three or more drinks on a single day. Have four drinks every Saturday night and you’ll be up about 10 pounds within a year!
• Beware of that hungry hangover feeling – When you’re out drinking, have one cup of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. Have another large glass of water before bed, along with a snack that’s high in fiber and protein (e.g. oatmeal or cereal).
For more information on healthy nutrition tips, go here.