Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do I Have to Avoid Alcohol to Lose Weight?

Alcohol is not all bad. Like most things should be used in moderation...especially if you want to drop some fat.

Alcohol is a sugar and the fat you get from it will be stored around your abdomen. That's where the phrase "beer belly" came from! There is also evidence that indicates that if you are already overweight, drinking alcohol will make it easier for you to gain additional weight.

I don't know if that is because of the alcohol itself or because when we drink our inhibitions drop and we become more relaxed and it is easy to eat more.

What about the health benefits to drinking wine or even beer? You've heard that having a glass of wine or beer may reduce your chance of getting heart disease. If you don't have wine, how else can you get those benefits?

The best way is to eat foods that have those same compounds--blueberries, apples, onions, grapefruit, black tea, peanuts and 100% red grape juice (no added sugar, of course) all will do you as well as the glass of wine. These other foods provide you with other vitamins and nutritional components that wine or beer won't, so you are ahead of the game! You can cut your risk of heart disease even more by including fish, garlic, nuts and a little dark chocolate in your diet.

I haven't given up alcohol entirely. I enjoy a glass of wine or a beer upon occasion, but it isn't very often these days. Certainly not often enough to gain any heart health benefit in the sense we've been talking about. In the bigger picture though, because I have lost so much fat, my heart health is much better, and my risk for heart disease is much lower.

Bottom line, I suggest you limit alcohol because it is mostly empty calories. But remember, I don't believe in forbidden foods--that goes for drinks, too! When you do chose to imbibe, make it really count! Drink your favorite beverage and really savor it. Sip it. Enjoy the social environment. Enjoy the flavor of the drink.

No comments: