We've all heard the term "beer belly," but how can we avoid the bulge while still enjoying a night out? Lauren Antonucci, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.D.E., C.D.N., Owner/Director of Nutrition Energy, NYC, fills us in on the truth about beer and how to enjoy it while maintaining your diet.
Lauren: The truth about beer. Many people drink beer, it's the third most commonly consumed beverage after water and tea, we know people are drinking it. What are the nutritional implications? First of all, beer has a lot of calories. 100 to 150 calories per serving, and we know many people don't stop at one serving. We do need to factor that a couple hundred extra calories a day would lead to a 10 pound per year weight gain. So if you're adding beer on top of everything else, this could be one thing that we really need to watch. On the contrary, eliminating one beer per day could lead to a 10 pound weight loss over the course of the year. In addition to to overall caloric contribution that beer does add to our daily intake, it does also slow down our fat metabolism, which can lead to more fat storage, which leads to weight gain, something else we want to be aware of. The other thing about beer consumption that many people are aware of is if you start drinking a couple of beers it often leads to mindless eating, or extra consumption of calories, and most of the time those calories are not coming from carrot sticks and celery. So we really need to put limits on our alcohol consumption for many reasons. One, in terms of preventing heart disease. Two, in terms of decreasing overall fat or belly fat. And three, to prevent us from mindless eating at the end of the night. So if you do enjoy a beer, make sure you do it smart and in moderation. Keep it to one a day, make sure you're building a healthy lifestyle around it, you're getting in your exercise, you're eating your fruits and vegetables, you make sure that you're drinking water afterwards, which will help prevent dehydration and mindless eating afterwards. Fit it in to the rest of your plan.
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