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Friday, January 27, 2012

31 Days of Weight Loss Tips: Day 26 Avoid the Alcohol Sabotage

Photo by Rob Ireton on Flickr
Don't let alcohol encumber all of your hard work and efforts toward a healthier lifestyle.

Alcohol is almost always involved in any social gathering and can be difficult to avoid. I've often heard many people say that they weren't going to eat too much during the day so they could "save the calories" for when they go out drinking.

Sure, it's important to be conscious of the calories you consume, but skipping meals -- or worse starving yourself and loading up on calories from alcohol is a bad move.

Any alcohol consumption -- be it beer, wine or hard liquors like rum and vodka -- all raise blood sugar levels, which then raise insulin levels and finally you're left in a hypoglycemic state where your blood sugar is too low.

This is problematic for several reasons. One, keeping insulin levels as even as possible is key for weight loss. Two, drastic increases and decreases in insulin levels is a risk for diabetes. And three, low blood sugar levels increase your appetite and cause you to crave things that aren't healthy -- which is why you see long lines at fast food restaurants on any given Saturday after the bars have closed.

Not only are you in a losing situation while consuming alcohol just on an insulin level, but also when it comes to calories.

Most alcoholic drinks are mixed with sodas, juices and syrups making a bad situation even worse. After having a few drinks, you're likely look at having had consume 600 or more non-nutritive calories. To get an idea of how many calories are in most drinks, check out this list from Calorie King.

So, what does one do -- stop drinking altogether? That is ideal but it's a bit unrealistic. Avoid it if you can, but if you are to drink at least be wise about it. Here are a few of my tips:

  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Opt for red wine whenever possible -- at least get some antioxidants out of the deal.
  • Skip sugary mixed drinks like margaritas, daiquiris or pina coladas. 
  • Skip light beer. Lighter beers do have fewer calories but you're more likely to have more to get same effect of one regular beer, resulting in more total calories. 
  • When drinking hard liquors choose ones you can drink straight. Or mix with water and lime or lemon for flavoring.
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