Best And Worst Types Of Alcohol For Weight Loss
Forgoing booze altogether is ideal if losing weight is your health goal, but if you must imbibe, registered dietitians recommend opting for certain alcoholic beverages over others.
Alcohol consumption is on the rise, even though happy hour at bars and restaurants is on hold in many parts of the world. When COVID-19 stay-at-home orders went into effect back in March, during just one week, national alcohol sales increased 54 percent compared with the same week in 2019, and three out of every four adults began consuming alcohol one more day per month year over year, according to a letter published in September 2020 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
You may not think drinking more during the pandemic sounds bad because having a glass of wine with dinner is good for your heart, right? But its not that good, according to some research. A The Lancet found that while alcohol has been shown to provide some protective factors for heart disease and diabetes among women, the positive effects were offset by the fact that alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, accidents, and communicable disease. It seems the answer to the question of whether drinking even in moderation is healthy varies depending on whom you ask.
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Here are the best and worst types of alcohol to drink if youre watching your weight.
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When You Drink Vodka Every Night This Is What Happens To Your Body
Ah, vodka. After a long day at work or at a particularly stressful event, there are few things more refreshing than a cold vodka cocktail. After all, a serving of vodka delivers a nice punch of alcohol to your system, relaxing you and getting the dopamine flowing in your brain. Suddenly you’re less worried than you were before and enjoying the warmth of the beverage as it spreads through your body.
In addition to those properties, vodka is quite the versatile alcoholic beverage, rendering it a good selection for pairing with mixers for a tasty drink that packs a punch. And for the most part, vodka is fairly affordable, with plenty of brands selling bottles that don’t taste all that bad, even without a mixer that masks the alcoholic flavor.
So are you a person who likes to drink vodka every night? Are you wondering what the effects might be on your body and its systems and whether they’re good or bad? Read on to discover exactly what happens to your body when you drink vodka every night.
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Wine Belly Vs Beer Belly
So, does wine cause belly fat? If so, how is it different than a beer belly?
Wine belly and beer belly are actually the same thing. All forms of alcohol contain calories, and it is well known that consuming extra calories can help you put on extra weight. Not all drinks are created equal1: Light beer, for instance, contains an average of 103 calories per serving. Regular beer contains roughly 153 calories.
Most wines fall somewhere in between, averaging 121 to 129 calories per five ounce glass. This means that wine is slightly better than most beer. But imagine knocking back enough glasses of wine to keep pace with a couple of beer buddies. In the end, would it make a huge difference?
Then, there are disparities in gender, drinking, and weight gain. Wine seems to be more popular among women2. Beer bellies are often associated with male drinkers, and its true that men tend to develop belly fat more quickly. On the other hand, it appears that women store more fat in their bodies overall. This is especially true after menopause.
It can also take more time for women to lose extra weight from their abdomen. As a result, even if men can develop a gut more easily, consuming excess calories is not a good idea for women either. No matter who you are or what beverage you prefer, excessive drinking is likely to give you some kind of belly.
Does Vodka Have Carbs
Distilled spirits, like vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin, only contain alcohol, so they have zero carbs. If youre tracking your carbohydrate intake, vodka is an optimal choice.
This may seem odd since vodka is made from carb-rich foods like wheat and potatoes. However, the carbs are removed during the fermentation and distilling processes.
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What Fruits Are Good On A Keto Diet
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Beware: Alcohol Packs More Punch On Low Carb
When on a strict low-carb diet, many people require significantly less alcohol to become intoxicated.12 So be careful the first time you drink alcohol on low carb. You may need only half as many drinks as usual to enjoy yourself, saving you money and from a hangover.
Recognizing this issue of reduced tolerance is even more critical if you plan on driving. When eating low carb, you may have a higher blood alcohol level after fewer drinks, impairing your abilities to a much greater extent than usual.
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Alcohol Can Negatively Affect Your Sleep
A nightcap before bed may sound like a ticket to a good nights rest but you may want to reconsider.
Research suggests that alcohol can lead to increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles.
It Messes With Your Hormones
Hormones play a crucial role in the healthy functioning of all the body’s tissues and organs. “When the hormone system is working properly, the right amount of hormone is released at exactly the right time, and the tissues of the body accurately respond to those messages,” explains Maurin.
Drinking alcohol can impair the functions of the glands that release hormones and the functions of the tissues targeted by those hormones, which can result in a range of health issues. “Alcohol consumption causes increased levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been linked to weight gain,” says Maurin.
Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how much alcohol causes this increase in cortisol. “There’s no black and white answer here everyone is unique in how their bodies react and break down alcohol,” Maurin explains. She notes that many studies on this topic include an “intoxicated” study group and/or alcohol-dependent individuals, who may require a larger amount of alcohol to be affected.
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What Vegetables And Fruits Can You Eat On The Keto Diet
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You May Lose Weight If You Drink Vodka Every Night
The choice to drink vodka every night in and of itself isn’t going to magically make you lose weight, though that would be a pretty incredible thing. But if you opt for vodka over beer and wine for your go-to drink, or are switching to vodka instead of something like schnapps to see what happens, you might lose weight, as noted by registered dietitian Laura Krebs-Holm. “Like other distilled spirits, vodka is lower in calories than beer or wine per serving,” she revealed to The List. “One shot of vodka has about 90 calories.” And because you presumably won’t need to drink as much vodka as you would beer or wine to feel the same effects, that caloric count really isn’t bad!
Just remember to be mindful when you pair your vodka with any mixers to offset the taste of the alcohol. “However, if it is mixed with sugar-sweetened mixers, juices, simple syrup, or high calorie sodas, it may impact your efforts to lose weight,” Krebs-Holm added. So stick to seltzer water, a hint of lime juice, or diet sodas or juices if you’re looking to drop a few pounds.
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If You Drink Vodka Every Night In Large Quantities You Might Become Dependent On Alcohol
If you drink vodka every night in large amounts, there’s a chance that you can become dependent on it, according to Dr. Howard C. Becker, a professor of psychiatry. “Continued excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of dependence that is associated with a withdrawal syndrome when alcohol consumption is ceased or substantially reduced,” he penned in an article in Alcohol Research Current Reviews. “This syndrome comprises physical signs as well as psychological symptoms that contribute to distress and psychological discomfort.” That does not sound pleasant.
In order to avoid becoming dependent on alcohol, or developing any of the other associated health risks that can come with drinking it, you should watch out for signs that you drink too much. Abstinence may be the best option, according to Medical News Today. That means that drinking vodka every day is indeed a roll of the dice for your health. But according to the CDC, moderate alcohol consumption which is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men is the recommendation when you do drink.
What Is The Best Way To Order An Alcoholic Drink If Youre Trying To Lose Weight
Now that you know the calories in each alcohol, its time for you to think about how youre going to order your drink, exactly. Here are a few tips for your next tab, according to experts:
- Keep your drinks simple. Once you start using more than one type of booze, your calories really start to get up there, says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. For example, if you can take your gin neat with a squeeze of fresh lime, your weight-loss goals will be better off than if you went for the standard, sugar-loaded G& T.
- Meet your new BFF: whiskey. Your best bet for ordering the lowest-calorie alcohol is starting with whiskey or scotch and adding water to help open up the vivid flavors, or a no-calorie mixer like club soda, says Gorin.
- Make an ingredient switch.You can always make a few simple swaps to help lower the number of calories in your original drink of choice. For instance, Ask for a margarita with less agave, a mojito with less sugar, says Gorin. Ask if the bar is serving 100 percent juice or a juice cocktail, which is a keyword for added sugar and calories. Easy.
- Add all the fruits for flavor. If you want to give your alcohol an oomph, try adding in all the fruits to your bevs, says Meshulam. Get flavor from muddled fruit and herbs instead of juices, soda, or sugar, says Meshulam, noting that adding splashes of lemon, lime, and soda water can elevate your fruit-filled drink.
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Does Alcohol Make You Gain Weight
The answer: it depends. Learn more about the relationship between alcohol and weight loss, plus how to sip and still meet your goals.
Let’s face it: sometimes you just need a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day. While it might not do wonders for your sleep, it can definitely help take the edge offplus, a glass of red in particular can even offer some health benefits. Still, you might be wondering, ‘does alcohol make you gain weight?’ and, depending on your goals, ‘can you drink and still lose weight?’ The answer is both yes and no. We’ll explain…
Bottom Line On Red Wine
Despite the potential health benefits of red wine, drinking alcohol of any kind comes with risks. As the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health points out, “Alcohol is both a tonic and a poison,” depending on how much you consume. Because alcohol affects individuals differently, there’s no universal consensus on what constitutes a standard drink, just as “moderate drinking” hasn’t been officially defined.
In the United States, a 5-ounce glass of red wine, which is 12 percent alcohol by weight, constitutes one drink. Moderate drinking is generally defined as no more than two drinks a day for men, and no more than one drink a day for women. In addition to the potential for weight gain, drinking more than the moderate amount of alcohol can cause a host of health problems, including liver inflammation, high blood pressure and a significantly increased risk of cancer.
If you don’t already drink red wine, there’s no need to start moderate physical activity and a whole-foods based diet that’s both high in fiber and low in added sugars can promote cardiovascular health and help you lose weight. And if you’re still looking for that magic weight-loss beverage, try water a September 2015 study in the journal Obesity found that drinking 16 ounces of water about half an hour before mealtime can help you consume fewer calories when you sit down to eat.
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Cocktails With Fewer Calories
Mixed drinks can often contain the most calories and sugar because of the number of ingredients involved. However, if you use quality ingredients such as lime, ginger, lemon, to name a few they can also be opportunity to add some nutritional value to your beverage.
Most hard liquors contain roughly 100 calories per shot. But its usually the mixers that cause problems. The calories in orange juice, for example, can add up. And other juices that you might add to drinks like and daiquiris tend to be very high in sugar and calories.
So are skinny cocktails any better? The answer is tricky. Some brands advertise that they are low in calories but the number is low because the serving size is exceptionally small. Skinnygirl brand pre-mixed cocktails, for example, contain 75 calories per serving, but a serving is 1.5 ounces about the size of a shot glass. In many cases, people add this portion to a mixer, such as club soda.
Empower Cocktails also make drinks with fewer calories. A 1.5 ounce serving of the brand’s Cosmopolitan Martini is just 40 calories. Again, you are not likely to pour a drink that is 1.5 ounces, but you can blend the beverage with sparkling water and pour it over ice to keep the calories in control.
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