21+ only please. If you choose to drink, please do so responsibly.
Let’s face it, drinking is a huge American past time. But if you’re trying to hit a weight loss goal, cutting out alcohol can be a major part of reaching that goal in a timely manner. Alcohol contains lots of empty calories and forces your liver to work over time to metabolize it out of your body, causing dehydration. Your body uses water to metabolize your booze which is why you may wake up feeling like a dried out husk after a night of debauchery.
If you’re going to drink, remember: everything in moderation. Drinking too much can cause a hangover, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungover all healthy decisions go out the window. I feel sluggish, unmotivated, parched and nauseous and while going to the gym to sweat it all out may sound like a good idea, very rarely am I actually able to move my bottom off the couch after a long night out. If you have a weight loss goal, keep it in mind and keep your drinks to a minimum to avoid negatively impacting your health. Let’s look at some options that won’t completely derail your goals.
1. Vodka & Soda–the good ol’ standby when you’re on a diet. Spice it up with a squeeze of lime, orange or a no-calorie water flavoring (found at your local grocery store).
2. Light beer–The light varieties have lower carbs than regular or craft options. While some may feel like they’re sacrificing taste, the low-carb beers are generally a better idea when drinking on a diet. Watch your intake though, because even though their numbers are low, those carbs can still add up.
3. Straight alcohol–Vodka, rum, whiskey, gin. These alcohols sipped straight (no mixers) are a lower calorie option than a sugary mixed drink. Many cordial alcohols and mixers can hide an alarming amount of sugar, carbs and calories.
4. Red wine–With low carbs and about 120 calories per drink, red wine is not only a good choice for drinking on a diet, one glass per night has also been shown to have heart health benefits.
Things to avoid: As mentioned above, many mixed drinks can have a sneaky amount of sugar and calories. The biggest culprits are things like pre-made margarita mix, fruit juices, sodas, pre-made sangrias, simple syrups and cordial liquors (think anything bright colored, creamy or sweet).
Drinking responsibly is so important to leading a balanced lifestyle and reaching all your goals–both personal and health-related. I truly believe in everything in moderation. Enjoy that piece of cake, but eat your veggies too. Have a girls night out, but maybe plan a gym sesh or a walk to brunch for the next morning.
How many times per week or month do you drink? Do you or have you noticed an affect on your fitness/health/personal goals related to it? I’m interested to hear your input!
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face book says
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Jenna Danielle says
YAY! I love to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
Hello! I really LOVE your blog. I think you are a great influence to those who follow you. I would like to add to something you wrote. My intent is not be a not to be a know it all. I’m like you, I would like to share my expertise in a positive enlightening manner.
You wrote: “Alcohol contains lots of empty calories and forces your liver to work over time to metabolize it out of your body, causing dehydration. Your body uses water to metabolize your booze which is why you may wake up feeling like a dried out husk after a night of debauchery.”
Alcohol does cause an elevation in liver enzymes. The liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. (Specifically, the cytochrome P450 3A4 enzymes.) Consumption of ethanol stresses the liver. You are correct by stating that more water is required to metabolize ethanol. Water is also required for carbohydrate metabolism. It is also important to note that ethanol inhibits anti diuretic hormone, aka vasopressin. This hormone in conjunction with the kidneys maintains fluid homeostasis. It inhibits the excretion of water causing water to stay in the body. Inhibition of ADH via ethanol causes an increase in water loss which leads to dehydration. This is the primary mechanism of ethanol induced dehydration. The the increased metabolic demand for water by the liver is definitely a contributing factor to dehydration. It’s not the only or primary mechanism of water loss. This is really important because people tend to under estimate the amount of water lost during binge drinking which is dangerous. Also, if one does binge drink and get a hangover, they tend to not replace enough water and electrolytes to account for the loss. They feel could feel better by alternating alcoholic beverages with a nonalcoholic beverage. Also, some healthy snacks are a good idea during a party or other occasion where people tend to overindulge on alcohol.
Jenna Danielle says
I love your detailed explanation, Dr. H! Thank you!
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Jenna Danielle says
Wonderful! Thanks so much!