With Christmas only 4 weeks away there are even more reasons to enjoy a drink or two or three. In fact the average Australian drinks 3 times their usual alcohol intake over the Christmas/New Year period. So what is the best alcohol to drink without sabotaging your health and your weight?
So, Why does alcohol cause weight gain
1.Calories: Alcohol contains more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates. Increased calorie intake leads to weight gain so the alcohol with the least amount of calories is the best choice. Don’t be fooled by low carb beers which have similar alcohol and calorie content as full strength beers.
Red, White, Sparkling Wine 150ml -100-120 calories
Vodka and Soda water 30ml vodka – 64 calories
Gin and Tonic water 30ml gin – 200 calories
Full strength Beer 375m – 135 calories
Low carb Beer 375ml – 109 calories
Lite Beer 375ml – 94 calories
Mid strength Beer 357ml – 105 calories
Espresso Martini – 285 calories
Our bodies cannot store alcohol calories as body fat or glycogen and will use it as an immediate source of fuel. This may sound like good news but it results in fat mobilization from your body fat stores being reduced and the calories from any food you are eating when drinking will be stored as body fat. This is a good reason to eat well when you are drinking.
2. Alcohol contains lots of energy (calories) with no fibre. Fibre in the stomach tells our brain we are full and hopefully we stop eating and consuming too many calories. Without fibre it is easy to over consume the calories in alcohol.
3. Alcohol slows down your body’s fat burning ability while you are drinking.
4. And finally as we all know. Drinking alcohol reduces your ability to make good food choices resulting in snacking on high fat/sugar foods, which are high in calories.
So enough of the doom and gloom. Here are my top tips for keeping on top of your health and weight this Christmas/New year while still enjoying a drink or two.
1.Stay well hydrated. Drink 500ml to 1 litre water before you consume any alcohol then drink one glass of water between every alcoholic drink.
2.Chose the lowest calorie drink from the table above. Vodka and soda with fresh lime and mint would be my top pick.
3.Eat a healthy meal before you go out to stop the snacking on poor food choices
4. No matter how dusty you feel the next day get up and exercise to get you metabolism and fat burning going.
5. Take a good quality B complex before you start drinking and again the next day as alcohol metabolism uses up B vitamin stores rapidly.
And most importantly, have fun. If you put on a few kilos over Christmas and New Year at least you did it by having a great time with family and friends.
About the Author
Kelley Bright is a highly credentialed health and fitness expert who holds a Masters degree in Nutrition/Dietetics, Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and a Diploma of Naturopathy.
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