You may ask yourself, “Is it acceptable to drink alcohol and still reach my goals?"
The short answer is yes, you can still have the occasional drink and reach your goals. There is nothing wrong with a glass of wine at a social or dinner. However, just like anything, moderation is key.
If you consume too much alcohol it may negatively impact your weight loss attempts, exercise performance, muscle growth, mental health, or contribute to weight gain.
How can alcohol impact your diet and exercise?
Let’s start off with how it impacts your nutrition:
- Alcohol is high in calories, (1g of alcohol is 7 calories). On top of that, most drink mixes such as juice and pop are high in calories, which can result in an extra 50-100 calories per drink! This can add up quickly!
- Drinking alcohol can impair judgment and decision-making. This can make you more likely to overeat or opt for more calorie-dense foods. How many of you have stopped for the quick McDonald’s run after a night out of drinking, or craved junk food the next day?
- Alcohol slows down the body's metabolism, which makes it more difficult to lose fat.
Now, let’s move to exercise:
- Studies have shown that alcohol consumption reduces muscle protein synthesis. This can impact your recovery, performance, and the rate your body builds muscle
- And lastly, drinking too much alcohol can reduce an individual's interest in exercise.
So if you decide to drink, what are the best types of low-calorie options?
We will start off with two tips:
- Choose mixes that are low-calorie, such as water, club soda, and diet soda.
- Have ½ a glass of water between drinks to ensure you're staying hydrated. This will prevent the unwanted effects of a hangover, like headaches, nausea, tiredness, and muscle cramps because it helps keep your electrolytes balanced.
Here are a few low-calorie drink options:
- Hard alcohols and liquors
1 ounce of these can range anywhere from 60-110 calories, with the exception of tequila which is 30 calories per ounce.
Some examples are:
- Vodka with Club sodas (58 calories)
- Gin and Diet Tonic (66 calories)
- Whisky, Scotch, and Rum with diet coke (100 Calories).
- Red and White Wine
With approximately 120 calories in each 5-ounce serving, wine can be a great option if you’re looking for a more casual drink since people tend to sip slowly during a meal.
- Hard Seltzers
For example, a can of White Claw typically contains 100 calories. This is a great alternative to cocktails, beers, and mixed drinks.
- Low carb beers
There are several brands of low carb or light beers that are under 100 calories per can (such as Michelob Ultra).
Be sure to remember that you should enjoy alcohol only in moderation as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet, regardless of whether or not you’re trying to lose weight.