The Prevalent Question.
San Antonio, TX, has no shortage of festivals, restaurants, and bars. The culture revolves around celebrating life with friends and family while eating amazing food and drinking delicious adult beverages. So it is no surprise that as a personal trainer in San Antonio, Texas, my new weight loss clients ask the prevalent question, "Can I lose weight and still drink alcohol?" My "good trainer" instinct is to answer with "Don't drink.", but the standard reply is "Why?" Since I know man will always have this weird relationship with alcohol and that most of my clients will continue to drink, I decided to write an article that I hope will educate you and help you with your choice to drink and still achieve your weight loss goal.
What Is Alcohol?
Ethanol or Alcohol has been around for more than 10,000 years. It existed in early civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, Greece. Alcohol comes from yeast forming from the sugars in different food like wine made from the sugar in grapes, beer from the sugar in malted barley, cider from the sugar in apples, and vodka from the sugar in potatoes, beets, or other plants. Now I know what you're probably thinking. If Alcohol comes from fruits and vegetables, then it's kind of healthy, right? Well, yes and no.
Is Alcohol Healthy?
In many studies conducted worldwide by experts in their fields, low doses of Alcohol have some benefit to your health. In the majority of those studies, "low dose" is considered to be less than two alcoholic beverages a day. Some of the benefits of those studies include reduced risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes. In addition, it can prevent the development of gallstones and increase libido. Alcohol also improves memory before intoxication occurs. Although these studies have some scientific backing with taking low doses of Alcohol, there is another side to the coin.
What Is On The Other Side Of The Coin?
Alcohol in high doses can have adverse effects on your body. It can decrease your bone density, making your bones thin and weak. Fatigue can occur from alcohol causing anemia, a lack of iron in your body. Third, alcohol can prevent you from absorbing the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, which will result in malnutrition. It can create muscle cramping and result in muscle death. Your liver can become fatty as a result of the scar tissue caused by Alcohol. It can prevent your organs from properly balancing your blood sugar levels resulting in diabetes. It can even create infertility, sexual dysfunction, and lower testosterone in men causing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, and increased body mass index.
Can I Lose Weight And Still Drink Alcohol?
Now I know the previous paragraph sounded like a disclaimer for any drug on T.V., which is usually tuned out by most people since failed organs or death doesn't register for most people until it's too late. So I thought that I would reemphasize the answer in this paragraph to the general question, "Can I lose weight and still drink alcohol?". The definitive answer is YES, but I advise not to.
Alcoholic drinks are usually around 150 calories or more per serving. So if you have two drinks, you just had a second dinner, which is the opposite of losing weight. Instead of using the meals you ate that day as fuel, Alcohol takes its place as the primary fuel source and makes your body store your food as fat. Alcohol lowers your inhibitors and tricks you into making poor decisions with food choices like eating all the fried foods bars have to offer, leading to more fat gain. In addition, Alcohol inhibits protein synthesis, which is your body's ability to repair muscle tissue. So if you worked out that day and then had a couple of drinks later, your muscles will not heal and grow. Which is the goal, right? I mean, ladies, do you want a bigger firm butt and toned legs and arms? Guys, do you want muscular arms, back, and legs? Doesn't everyone want less belly fat and a firm, flat stomach, maybe even some abs saying "hello"?
So What Can I Drink?
Humans have had this weird relationship with alcohol. Most people associate drinking alcoholic drinks with "living life" and "having fun," which is true in some retrospect. But what is also true is that alcohol can prevent you from losing weight, and too much can kill you. So I structured this article to replicate the back and forth conversation I usually have with most of my new clients that refuse to accept my adamant answer of "don't drink." If you must drink alcohol, drink in low doses of less than two beverages a day. Avoid sugary mixed drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, amaretto sours, and basically anything that requires a mixer because it contains sugar and leads to weight gain. Avoid mixing Alcohol with sodas and juices because they contain sugar which leads to weight gain. If you're going to have a beer or a glass of wine, make sure it's top shelf and limit to one serving. Essentially avoid adding any mixer to alcohol which is usually loaded with sugar because alcohol is already sugar, so don't add more sugar to sugar because sugar equals weight gain. If you must drink alcohol, stick to top-shelf organic Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, Tequila, and Brandy on the rocks and limit to one serving a day. This will keep you under the 100 calorie mark for the day and give you that euphoric buzz you long for.
You can lose weight and still drink alcohol in very low doses. The key is to account for alcohol, food intake and maintain a daily exercise habit. If you have a weight loss goal and need guidance with nutrition or exercise, click here to schedule your weight loss consultation.