How To Drink Beer Without Gaining Weight
“Beer is liquid bread.”
The age-old adage seems to make drinking our favorite beer synonymous with getting fat.
According to T Nation 12 ounces of a typical beer contains 153 calories, a light beer on the other hand has about 103 calories. If one is not careful, these drinks and the habits they inspire can lead to significant weight gain. A simple change in a few drinking habits can still have the beers near while keeping the weight gain at bay. With Oktoberfest on the horizon, here are a few simple guidelines to keep from piling on the pounds:
When drinking, eat protein instead of fat
To explain this rule, let’s start off with a primer on macronutrients. Every food that you consume is made up of one or more of the following macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These macronutrients have specific properties, such as the number of calories they contain, their impact on your levels of hunger and fullness, and so on, and the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol.
Of these four, fat is probably the most misunderstood. There’s a misconception that dietary fat (fat that you consume) makes you fat, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you’re expending more calories than you consume, then dietary fat is readily used by your body, even if you consume a diet high in fat. However, drinking alcohol confounds this process somewhat.
Alcohol is toxic and cannot be stored by your body. Because of this, Mother Nature has thankfully blessed us (and other animals) with the ability to prioritize alcohol as a source of energy over all other macronutrients. This means that your wild buzzed dancing and subsequent poor decisions are, quite literally, fueled by alcohol. But this also means that your body’s ability to utilize fat as fuel (also known as fat oxidation) takes a back seat. As a consequence, any fat that you consumed earlier is readily stored as adipose tissue.
To counteract this, opt for low-fat foods on days you know you’ll be drinking. Additionally, consume a copious amount of lean protein. While your body might not be able to use all the fat you eat that day, the protein will keep you fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to undo your work with a late-night IHOP session... which brings us to our next rule.
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Avoid Binge Drinking
This is a no brainer since anything in excess is something you want to stay away from in general health wise. Studies have shown that the body utilizes alcohol as energy first before drawing energy from other sources such as non-oxidized fat which is then “preferentially deposited in the abdominal area.” This can lead to what is called a “beer belly”.
Of course, it’s great to let go once in a while, but just be wary that gaining pounds is one often overlooked consequence of binge drinking.
Avoid Binge Eating
Drinking is often blamed for gaining pounds when most of the time it is only half the problem. People often forget they are eating when they are drinking specially if they are having a good conversation or are otherwise distracted. The body is "fooled" into thinking it's hungry. This leads to the next tip.
Pick drinks with a higher alcohol-to-calorie ratio
Sticking to our 10-drink example, you can probably see how certain kinds of beverages would rack up the calories to absurd levels pretty quickly. Ten whiskeys will be less than 1,000 calories, whereas the equivalent in piña coladas may be three times that amount due to all the sugar and coconut milk mixed in.
Which drinks contain the highest alcohol-to-calorie ratio? You can’t go wrong if you choose from the following: liquor, red or white wine (the drier the better), Champagne, or light beer.
Anything with a B- rating or higher from this incredibly helpful list should get you where you need to go without doing excessive damage to your waistband.
But if you really, really want that strawberry daiquiri, order it at the start of the night when you’re likely to be present enough to enjoy it most, then switch to drinks that are more fitness-friendly.
Sticking to the rules above might be challenging at first. You will mess up, but you’ll get better with practice. Don’t focus on being perfect when it comes to adherence. Instead, focus on adhering as best as you can and improving a little bit more each time. Look on the bright side: when else can you use the words “practice” and “drinking” together in a sentence that’s related to self-improvement?
Drink water before, during, and after
A drink of water for every drink of alcohol can help with moderation and preventing a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will cause us to become dehydrated. But, if we drink plenty of water before drinking, this will keep us from feeling thirsty and prompt us to drink slowly.
Ayoob adds: "It substitutes water for an alcoholic drink of the same volume."
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