Owner/Director of Nutrition Energy, NYC, has the answer to all your dieting and drinking questions, plus some tips to keep you in check while also enjoying yourself.
Lauren: Alcohol, we know people enjoy it. Pairing a beer with a ball game, pairing a nice glass of wine with a fancy dinner. It's a social occasion, it helps people relax, it's something that people do all the time. What are the implications for alcohol in terms of weight loss? There are two things we want to consider. We want to make sure that we're counting the calories that we consume from alcohol as part of our overall picture, and we need to make sure that we're not drinking alcohol and then snacking additionally on top of it. So, how do we avoid the pitfalls of alcohol sabotaging your weight loss? We really need to look at total caloric consumption. You may have switched to light beer over your favorite beer thinking that it saves you 50 calories per serving. While that is the case, it's often likely the case that someone can drink more light beers than they would have of their regular beer. In that case, if you used to drink two regular beers at 300 calories for those two beers, and switched to drinking five light beers, you're not helping yourself in terms of your weight loss, and it's also not good for your cardiovascular disease risk. In terms of any alcohols being safer or better to consume for overall health or weight loss, as long as you pay attention to the portion size, a 12 ounce serving of beer to a 4 to 5 ounce glass of wine to a one, one and a half ounce of a harder alcohol, that they're pretty much equivalent in terms of weight loss and all other factors. Of course we do want you to be careful. If you add mixers, if you add frozen concoctions, if you're adding juice, if you're adding tonic water, those things all add calories, which we don't need to do. So bottom line, if you enjoy your nightly cocktail, it's probably fine as long as you've checked with your medical doctor, because what we really need to look at in terms of weight loss is overall calorie intake, or calorie budget. If you're eating a healthy, balanced diet and everything else is in line, that will not be the hinderance to your weight loss.
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