Occasional drinking has clear health benefits but drinking too much can exert numerous adverse side effects including unwanted weight gain. Alcoholic beverages are derived from simple sugars and starches but they actually contain more calories than these carbohydrates. In fact, every gram of alcohol yields about seven calories, which is almost twice as much as the four grams generally yielded by sugars and starches. Over time, these calories can really add up and, ultimately, lead to gradual weight gain.
Lucky enough, there are ways to stop this from happening. So, if you tend to drink when socializing, relaxing or celebrating, here’s how you can do so without gaining weight.
Count and Measure Your Drinks
Since alcoholic beverages are relatively high in calories, failing to track your drinks can really sabotage your efforts to manage your weight. It’s also important to measure your drink portions and remember how they look so you’re always able to keep them in check. A portion is simply how much of a beverage is in your cup. An average mixed drink contains about 300 calories per 8-ounce serving.
If you don’t track what you drink, you can easily consume in excess of 1,000 calories in a single sitting. By making an effort to count and monitor your drinks you’ll naturally cut down.
Choose Your Beverages Wisely
High proof alcoholic drinks tend to be the highest in calories due to their rich alcohol content. When choosing alcoholic beverages opt for dry wine, light beer, or low-proof hard liquor, as these drinks house modest amounts of calories. Interestingly, moderate intake of wine has actually been shown to protect against weight gain. Spirits on the other hand are closely associated with weight gain due to the high-sugar, high-calorie mixers used to make them. Such mixers include artificial fruit juices, sodas, and syrups.
If you’re a fan of spirits, opt for mixers that contain little or no calories like sparkling water or even freshly squeezed citrus fruits.
Avoid Drinking on an Empty Stomach
Alcohol stimulates appetite, which can substantially increase your calorie intake during and even after meals. Increased appetite is a real enemy of weight management and can over time lead to weight gain, especially if you regularly overeat. Increased appetite can also lead to more drinking opening the door to other issues that span beyond excess calorie consumption including poor judgment, erratic behaviors and even blackouts.
These effects are best avoided by consuming moderate amounts of alcohol while you’re fully satiated.
Drink Water with Alcoholic Beverages
Gulping down a full glass of water in between drinks helps reduce your desire for more alcohol. In general, alcohol drinking can lead to dehydration due primarily to frequent urination, as alcohol is a diuretic. Dehydration is characterized by extreme thirst, which can prompt more alcohol drinking if you’re not careful. In addition, since signs of thirst and hunger are very similar, confusing signs of thirst with those of hunger can easily lead to overeating and, ultimately, weight gain.
Drinking plenty of water with alcohol beverages can greatly minimize dehydration while also increasing the feeling of fullness in the body reducing an urge to overeat.
It’s really no secret that drinking alcohol can lead to unwanted weight gain. By implementing these simple strategies you can engage in occasional drinking without gaining an ounce. These strategies will also help you avoid the negative effects of alcohol that tend to emerge in excessive drinking.
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Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.