Alcohol consumption and fat loss has long been a controversial subject.
First, the BBC dismissed the “beer belly”. Now, new research contradicts this: liquor consumption in men is associated with a larger waist circumference.The research (published in Obesity) concludes:
However, high alcohol intake was associated with abdominal obesity, which might explain the higher diabetes risk previously observed in high alcohol consumers.
What is often overlooked is the sheer number of Calories in alcoholic drinks. Tom Venuto provides 7 tips to think about if you want to include alcohol in your lifestyle.
- Don’t drink on a fat loss program.
Although you could certainly drink and “get away with it” if you diligently maintained your calorie deficit as noted above, it certainly does not help your fat loss cause or your nutritional status.
- Drink in moderation during maintenance.
For lifelong weight maintenance and a healthy lifestyle, if you drink, do so in moderation and only occasionally, such as on weekends or when you go out to dine in restaurants. Binge drinking and getting drunk has no place in a fitness lifestyle (not to mention hangovers aren’t very conducive to good workouts).
- Don’t drink daily.
Moderate drinking, including daily drinking, has been associated with cardiovascular health benefits. However, I don’t recommend daily drinking because behaviors repeated daily become habits. Behaviors repeated multiple times daily become strong habits. Habitual drinking may lead to heavier drinking or full-blown addictions and can be hard to stop if you ever need to cut back.
- Count the calories.
If you decide to have a bottle of beer or a glass of wine or two (or whatever moderation is for you), be sure to account for the alcohol in your daily calorie budget.
- Watch your appetite.
Don’t let the “munchies” get control of you during or after you drink (Note to chicken wing and nacho-eating men: The correlation to alcohol and body fat is higher in men in almost all the studies. One possible explanation is that men tend to drink and eat, while women may tend to drink instead of eating).
- Watch the fatty foods.
When drinking, watch the fatty foods in particular. A study by Angelo Tremblay back in 1995 suggested that alcohol and a high fat diet are a combination that favors overfeeding.
- Enjoy without guilt.
If you choose to drink (moderately and sensibly), then don’t feel guilty about it or beat yourself up afterwards, just enjoy the damn stuff, will you!
It can be all right to drink responsibly, but things are a little different when there’s teenage alcohol abuse involved. So, be mindful of how alcohol could be affecting any kids in the household as well.