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Drinking while dieting, is it possible??

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Many of us savour a refreshing cold beverage occasionally, myself included. However, a common query arises - can you indulge in alcohol while adhering to a diet and exercise regimen?


Today, you'll find plenty of low-calorie or 0% alcoholic drinks available, making them incredibly easy to fit into your diet.

So the answer is straightforward: yes, you can. But does it align with your goals?


Specifically, I'm referring to alcohol and its potential

impact on your nutritional objectives.


At the core of any diet aimed at fat loss lies a fundamental rule: maintain a calorie deficit. You should be expending more calories than you consume on a daily basis.


Following a diet can already pose a challenge, and adding extra calories from beer, cocktails, or any preferred beverage can exacerbate the struggle.


When intoxicated, our satisfaction levels decrease, often leading to impromptu and uncontrollable food decisions, effectively undoing the hard work we’ve invested.


Alcohol diminishes our inhibitions and influences the quality of food we opt for, such as that typical 1 am takeaway like cheesy chips and gravy (a northern UK favourite).


This contributes to more calories, not just from the food, but from the alcohol itself.


For those who aren't heavy drinkers but enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine with dinner, incorporating a few beverages might work for you.


After all, alcohol doesn't hinder fat loss. However, similar to other macronutrients like carbs, fats, and protein, it does come with a calorie cost.


Per gram, alcohol contains 7 calories, slightly higher than the 4 calories in carbs and protein, but less than the 9 calories in fat.


The body prioritises utilising calories from alcohol before turning to other macronutrients.

Consider this: in a pound of fat, there are roughly 3500 calories (kcal). Now, imagine that large nightly glass of wine or pint of beer adding up to 500 kcal. That's enough to accumulate 1 lb of fat weekly.


When alcohol is consumed in a calorie surplus, it indirectly gets stored as fat, regardless of your low fat intake.


Now envision removing those daily drinks - you'd likely create a calorie deficit, potentially leading to losing 1 lb a week.


Not only does excessive alcohol consumption affect your waistline, but it also hinders muscle growth and exercise recovery due to its pro-inflammatory nature, potentially resulting in increased muscle soreness.


In addition to impacting sleep quality, alcohol impairs the absorption and excretion of numerous vitamins and minerals, contributing to dehydration and subsequent hangovers.


In summary, alcohol may not be the optimal choice of calories to align with your goals. If you frequently choose to consume it, you may inadvertently make your goals more challenging to achieve.


However, like everything, moderation is key. If you consume alcohol in moderation and align it with your dietary objectives, then why not?


If you're prudent with your choices throughout the week, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a few drinks on the weekend and still achieve your goal.


If, however, reducing your beverage intake proves challenging initially, you can try switching to lower calorie drink options. Perhaps non-alcoholic beer could be a viable alternative?

If a spirit and mixer are more to your liking, swap the regular soft drink for a lower calorie option.


Ultimately, it's the overall quantity that matters. Even if you save all your drinks for the weekend, it will still have the same impact if you don't create a calorie deficit.

Diet smarter, not harder.


Happy dieting,

Craig



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