You’ve probably heard about some of the studies that show that light-moderate alcohol drinkers live longer than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers. There are many theories as to why this occurs…
Some people theorize that it’s mostly about the social aspect… they theorize that light-moderate drinkers have more active social lives, closer bonds with their peers, and use “having a drink together” as a great excuse to meet up with your friends more often.
On the other hand, there’s also the studies that show that certain alcohol drinks have fairly decent amounts of beneficial antioxidants, such as red wine, dark beers, and even whiskey.
However, there are two other important things that we also know…
1. Heavy drinkers die younger, and have more health complications (1-2 drinks a day is way different than having 8-10 drinks a day)
2. Drinking alcohol in any quantities does indeed trigger hormones that can store fat on your body. So if you want to be lean, and have as little fat on your body as possible, the times that you drink, the quantities, and also the TYPE of drink are very important.
In today’s article, I’ll show you a few tips on how to still enjoy alcohol, but still be able to lose fat too and just in time for the New Year…
TIP 1. Obviously alcohol gives you extra calories on the days that you choose to drink. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein, and 9 calories per gram for fats.
However unlike ingesting carbs, protein, or healthy fats from a healthy food source, drinking alcohol gives you LOTS of calories with very little micronutrients (the exception to this is red wine and dark beers, both of which do have reasonable levels of micronutrients and antioxidants).
It helps to make sure that dinner is based only around protein and vegetables. You’re going to take in a lot of empty calories with the alcohol, so eating a good portion of appetite-satisfying protein along with nutrient-rich vegetables can help to control your appetite and give your body the nutrients it needs.
Plus, most importantly, there’s just no room for loads of carbohydrate-rich foods if you’re also going to be consuming alcohol. Carbs + alcohol is a perfect recipe for growing a beer belly! Try to keep that evening meal a fairly low-carb meal to save yourself from extra empty calories.
TIP 2. If you want to save your body from adding layers of ugly fat, by all means stay away from syrupy, fruity drinks that are loaded with sugar… this is a double whammy for your gut as you’re not only getting all of the empty alcohol calories, but also loads of empty sugar calories. Big fruity drinks such as a big syrupy margarita, or other tropical fruity drinks can sometimes have as much as 500-600 calories per serving and 70-100 grams of sugar!
Quick tip on margaritas: Most margaritas have loads of sugar from the sour mix. If you want to get a super low sugar and lower calorie margarita, what you need to do is ask the bartender to make your margarita with ONLY tequila and fresh squeezed lime juice, and NO sour mix (which is usually made from corn syrup). I think it tastes better anyway than a normal sugary margarita.
Next point… any drink that uses soda pop as the mixer is going to be loaded with sugar (usually high fructose corn syrup) and calories.
Instead, your best bet is to stick with a liquor mixed with club soda (NOT tonic) and a squeeze of lime or lemon (hey, at least you get a little vitamin C and antioxidants with the squeeze of lemon and lime!).
Stay away from tonic water mixers! Some people don’t realize this, but tonic water is loaded with almost as much sugar as regular soda pop… on the other hand, club soda has no calories at all. It’s clearly the lowest calorie way to drink.
TIP 3. If you’re going to drink beer, you’re better off choosing just 1 or 2 dark beers rather than 5 or 6 light beers. Sure, dark beers have more calories than light beers, but dark beers also have more B vitamins and antioxidants than light beers, so you actually get more nutrition from the dark beer. As long as you keep it to just 1 or 2 dark beers, you may still stay within 150-300 calories.
Generally, it also takes a little longer to drink a good dark beer compared to a watery light beer too.
TIP 4. Try to get in a high intensity full body workout before your night out of drinking. If you do this, at least you’ve revved up your metabolism and have your body processing calories a little faster.
Also, trying to get in some sort of exercise the morning after your night out can also help to get your body back to a good state of health. This may not be your best workouts in terms of energy, but it can help to just get your body moving and break a sweat, and get back to a good homeostasis.
TIP 5. Avoid the late-night munchies after a night of drinking! This is where most people do the biggest damage to their waistlines.
Instead, make sure to have some lean protein and vegetables quickly available at home. Veggies and protein is the key here.
The worst thing for your body is loading up on pizza, ice cream, and other carb-rich junk after a night out of drinking.
TIP 6. If you drink multiple drinks socially, try to keep drinking alcohol to only a couple days a week maximum if you want to stay lean. On the other hand, if you never drink more than 1-2 drinks per day, I think having 1-2 drinks daily with a meal can still be part of a healthy lifestyle.
TIP 7. Wine is one of the healthier drink choices… if you must have a drink, you might as well choose wine so you at least get a good dose of antioxidants as well. Red wine is known for it’s antioxidant content, however even white wines contain antioxidants as well… white wines just aren’t quite as high in antioxidants as red wines.
Source: Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist