Most people like to have an occasional drink. There is nothing wrong, after all, with drinking in moderation. The problem, however, is that alcoholic drinks seem to make most people put on weight. They are laden with sugar and calories, which means drinking alcohol seems like a no go area for people who want to lose weight. The question inevitably becomes, therefore, whether it is possible to lose weight while still having the occasional tipple.
The Complexity of the Topic
The idea that alcohol makes us put on weight is one that most subscribe to, including scientists. In fact, significant research has demonstrated that drinking alcohol substantially slows down the body’s ability to burn fat. But at the same time, several studies have shown that those who drink moderately are less likely to be overweight.
In fact, large, long-term studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and International Journal of Obesity found that middle-aged and older women who drank moderately (about one drink a day) gained less weight over time than those who never imbibed at all; they were also less likely to become obese.
So Just How Bad Is Alcohol?
One of the big questions for many is just how bad alcohol is when it comes to its contribution to weight gain. After all, most people who want to lose weight do so by counting calories, and if you know how many calories are in your drink, you can incorporate that into your overall calorie count. If that is your way of thinking, then the calories to be aware of are these:
12 oz of beer = 153 calories; 12 oz of light beer = 103 calories; 5 oz of red wine = 125 calories; 3 oz of sake = 117 calories; 1.5 oz of liquor = 97 calories
Of course, the reality is also that it should not only be about calories. After all, different calories and different ingredients are not expected to have the same effects on the body. If you do want to use the calorie counting method for drinking, therefore, you also have to be aware of the fact that alcohol does slow down metabolism and fat burning abilities. Hence, you might want to add some 50 calories more to each drink to account for the decrease in metabolism and make it a bit more realistic.
Can Alcohol Help You Lose Weight?
One of the more controversial suggestions out there at the moment is that alcohol may actually help you to lose weight. While scientists have not yet spoken out about whether or not this is true, there are some popular diets that suggest this is actually possible. It seems that, just like the studies mentioned above have found, it is not so much the alcohol that makes people lose weight, but rather their other behaviors.
Evidence suggests that moderate drinkers also tend to practice healthier habits than teetotalers. If you’re used to having three or four drinks every week as part of your diet, you’re probably compensating for them with fewer calories elsewhere.
To Drink or Not to Drink?
So what is the ultimate answer? Should you give up on one of life’s little pleasures if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? Or should you just treat yourself every once in a while and don’t think about the consequences? The reality is that it all depends on what you drink. If you do want to have the occasional drink, which is fine and may actually support weight loss, make sure it is a drink that isn’t laden with calories. Go for things like wine, vermouth, and straight liquors. Avoid things like mixers, cocktails, and juices, as these are likely to be full of sugar.
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