We have discussed in the past the importance of discovering the hidden fats and calories in the foods we eat. I showed how a salad, sandwich, or any other common type of meal can quickly double in fat and calories when the wrong ingredients are included. However, there are some things that some of us cannot live without. By this I mean our daily glass of wine, after-work beer, or fancy mixed drink with dinner. It seems that the allure of a cool cocktail (or two) awaits us at every walk of our lives. For the tea taster the problem is non-existent. But for the rest of us, drinking can quickly become a bulk-breaking addition to the diet.
The problem with alcoholic beverages is threefold:
First of all, alcohol stacks up and nearly doubles the caloric content of any kind of juice, soda, or mixer.
The average one ounce shot of hard liquor contains around 70-75 calories with some darker spirits like bourbon and brandy slightly more. Add a shot of liquor to a few ounces of tonic or cola and the calorie count is in the hundreds. And those exotic piña coladas or margaritas can be even higher than that. By any measure, one drink won’t ruin any diet, however, one drink is rarely a common thing…
Second, one drink usually leads to two.
The taste of a drink is fresh and satisfying. The second one is even better, and so on. Rarely in a social setting where alcohol is consumed does one stick to just one cocktail. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, which sometimes leads to more alcohol, and therefore more calories. And after one more drink, it almost always ends in the worst case scenario…
Third, alcohol almost always leads to overeating and eating.
Alcohol and its effects usually set the stage for binge eating. With just two drinks, his body is looking for a heavier, more satisfying type of food—and you guessed it, even more calories. Almost anyone’s caloric cycle under the influence of a few drinks can turn out to be a hidden dietary disaster. It is almost certain that the binge will occur.
The fat mentality regarding drinking can lead us in many wrong directions. Common misperceptions about alcohol lead to excessive use and unknown consumption of hundreds (if not thousands) of calories in a single night. The number one mistake that people who drink and try to lose weight make is to perceive alcoholic beverages as a liquid and, therefore, do not harm the diet. I can’t stress enough the fact… that alcohol leads to fat. “Beer belly” is not a women’s tale, it really exists. Anyone who adheres to a perfect diet, but drinks often, is guaranteed to get fat.
The best remedy for anyone who enjoys alcohol is to educate yourself on the caloric content of what you are consuming: most wines contain between 90 and 100 calories per glass. Most full-bodied beers contain between 140 and 200 calories per 12-ounce glass, while light beers contain between 100 and 110 calories per glass. And again, most clear liquors are around 70 calories per ounce, so pair them with diet soda or club soda for the “best option” of alcoholic beverages. The other best alternatives would be wines or light beer. Stay away from harmful mixed drinks and full-bodied beers.
Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to drinking is to pay attention to how often you do it. The casual daily glass of wine or the few beers here and there add up. Establish a schedule to control the frequency with which you consume alcoholic beverages. Give yourself a night or two a week to have a drink if you so desire, so you don’t overindulge in these diet-busting pleasures.
Lastly, and sometimes most importantly, prepare for what you’re going to eat after you’ve had a few cocktails. However, make preparations beforehand. Have a healthy and light snack ready to consume after a night of cocktails. This way, you’ll steer clear of the more tempting after-drink options. In short, a night of drinking loads your body with a good amount of unnecessary calories. Do your best to dodge the heavier cocktails at the bar and the heavier food afterwards.