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Can I Still Lose Weight Without Giving Up Alcohol?

It's a simple, honest question regarding booze and weight loss. The truth is that alcohol and weight loss goals generally don't mix, and when we honestly think about it; there really are many reasons to reduce (or even omit) drinking from our diets and social habits.

Still, having a glass of wine, or whatever your drink of choice may be, is also a cherished pastime, a conduit for connecting with friends and is infused into most of our social gatherings.

How Alcohol Influences Metabolism

Hey, guys, word on the street is that alcohol messes with your metabolism - big time! After all, we still use the term "beer belly" right? While valid to some extent, according to some research, we shouldn't freak out about it just yet.

Here's how the metabolic process basically goes when you've had a drink:

When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into the blood from the stomach and intestines, then two main enzymes in the liver begin to metabolize it.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) go to work in breaking apart the alcohol molecule so that it can eventually be eliminated from the body, as it cannot be stored.

Because of this, it becomes a priority for your metabolism.

In other words, it moves to the front of the metabolic line when it's consumed, even if you've consumed food (that contain nutrients like fats, proteins and other carbs) along with it. Because of this, the breakdown of lipids (lipolysis) and the digestion of any other nutrients takes a back seat.

The good news is that postponing those digestive processes doesn't necessarily equal imminent weight gain. It's just that your biochemical pathways don't work as efficiently when it's loaded with alcohol.

Factors affecting the rate of alcohol metabolism - and how tipsy you get!

Here's the truth: no matter how much alcohol a person consumes, the body can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol every hour.

Certain factors can determine what an individual's absorption rate is - and how quickly they're going to feel the effects.

According to the Clinical Liver Disease Journal, those factors include:

  • Age

  • Race

  • Gender - women tend to have a lowered tolerance for alcohol/absorb alcohol faster because they have less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)

  • Exercise

  • Drugs - recreational and some prescription

  • Alcoholism - family or personal history/genetics

  • Consumption of food & drink. This includes;

  • Food consumed at the time, or around the time, of alcohol consumption

  • Type of beverage consumed and congeners or "irritant properties" in it, e.g., low-quality alcohol has a high percentage of congeners that increase absorption of alcohol and chances of getting a hangover

  • The concentration of alcohol consumed

  • Rate of consumption

But the million-dollar question still is: Can I actually lose weight while including alcohol in my diet?

Well, it should bring you some relief to know that alcohol alone isn't the entire problem, it's the high-calorie count (especially when combined with sugary mixers) that they can contain, and a tendency us to overeat when imbibing that keeps us all in the resistant weight loss zone.

So, yes, there is hope. It is possible to get ahead in your weight loss goals, even if you choose not to give up your hooch!

Below, I've listed a few tips for making this happen… and while you may have heard it a million times before; moderation really is critical when it comes to alcohol consumption.

Six (6) diet tips when you plan to consume wine/alcohol

1. Be sure to get in a good workout the day you plan to indulge.

2. Don't skip meals in an attempt to "save up" those calories for drinking - and the extra eating that usually goes along with the drinking.

3. Determine how much you already consume - is it 2 glasses of wine per night? Start by cutting it down to one, then only have one every other day. And whatever you do, don't stockpile your drinks all week and have a big binge day on the weekend!

4. Drink no more than ONE glass per hour.

5. Have a full glass of water (or two) in between each drink.

6. Swap out sugary mixers, syrups, sweet wines, stout beer, and pre-bottled hard alcohol drinks for lower-calorie options.

What about The best alcohols to drink when you're trying to lose weight?

Simple: If your goal is weight loss, best drink lower calorie, lower sugar, and lower carb booze that will have a minimal impact on your overall daily nutrition - and your caloric bottom line!

Calorie Counts:

A 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor: 97 calories

A 5-ounce glass of white wine: 100-121 calories

A 12-ounce bottle of light beer: 55-103 calories (big range)

A 5-ounce glass of red wine: 105-125 calories

A 12-ounce bottle of regular beer: 153-320 calories (huge range!)

You can see just by shaving off a couple of drinks per week how the reduction in calories (and alcohol + sugar) could really add up… in the right direction!

And, the best wine for weight loss is dry wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Merlot or a very dry sparkling white wine. Sweet wines (like Riesling, Port or Ice wine) have significantly higher calorie and sugar or carb counts.

Indulging in a few alcoholic drinks when you're out with friends can help you appreciate the occasion more than when you're regularly hitting your favorite "happy hour," or mindlessly sipping booze in front of the television!

Until next time - be #awesome guys, leave a comment for me below, and keep moving toward a better you.

John Aaron

PS: Men, sometimes it's harder than normal to limit or even leave alcohol behind. If that's the case for you, you can find a list of helpful resources here:

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