Eliminating alcohol may help you meet your daily calorie allotment, but it could lead to binge drinking if you feel deprived during weight loss. There is also some evidence that moderate drinking can offer some health benefits if it is part of a balanced diet. Experts believe that red wine, for example, contains antioxidants that promote heart health. Current research also suggests that moderate drinking may lower insulin sensitivity.
Instead of becoming a teetotaler, carefully moderate your alcohol consumption. Learning how to incorporate limited alcohol into your new diet will help you maintain your good habits after you've met your weight loss goals.
Avoid Binge Drinking
According to research published in 2005, people who drink a single drink one to three times a week were more likely to maintain a healthy weight. However, the American Journal of Epidemiology study also found that binge drinkers often have the highest body mass index.
Although this research does not establish a direct link to weight problems and excessive alcohol consumption, it does reinforce the idea that controlled, regular consumption is the best option for drinkers.
Adjust Your Diet
Some experts think moderate drinkers stay slim because they unconsciously adjust for the calories they consume when drinking alcohol. If you count calories, learn the approximate calorie content of your favorite beverage. Then you can allot enough calories for your favorite drink a few nights a week.
Even if you don't count calories, you can still adjust your diet to avoid over-consumption. On nights you want to drink, skip the bread with your meal or don't order dessert. Eating only a part of your entree can also trim calories, so you can have a glass of wine and still lose weight.
Keep Eating Goals in Mind
Alcohol consumption can lower your inhibitions, which may make you eat more than you should. If you intend to drink while eating, make a plan for the evening. Decide what you intend to order and how much you'll drink. By having a plan, you'll have a better chance of following your diet. Also, never go to the bar hungry. Instead, eat a low calorie snack beforehand to avoid overeating snack foods and other calorie-laden treats.
Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
Having a single glass of wine probably won't affect your diet, but many dieters consume more alcohol than they think. Wine glasses hold far more than the recommended 4-ounce serving size. The recommended serving of hard liquor is 1.5 ounces, which is significantly more than you may get at a bar.
To avoid over-consumption, you may want to order a light beer or other individually bottled drink. That way you'll know exactly how much you're consuming. When you're drinking at home, take the time to measure your alcohol before pouring it into a glass to avoid drinking more than you should.
Skip the high-sugar mixed drinks and choose wine or hard liquor. Both contain fewer calories than most mixed drink offerings. If you must order a mixed drink, try substituting diet drinks for your old favorites. However, you should be aware that diet soda has been linked to a higher body mass index. One safe option is to choose a glass of red wine, which is packed with antioxidants and contains only 100 calories per 5-ounce serving.
Even with the proven benefits of alcohol consumption, you may find eliminating alcohol is necessary. If consuming alcohol in small quantities leads you to binging or other unhealthy behaviors, try an alcohol-free lifestyle. Trimming calories from alcohol can help you meet your diet goals and lead to greater weight loss. If you're concerned about the loss of health benefits associated with alcohol consumption, start exercising to get many of the same advantages.
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