Let’s be honest, it can be challenging to live a healthy life and reach your fitness goals, when you are constantly tempted to go out and grab a drink with your friends. A couple of carb-heavy beers with the boys and a few glasses of wine with the girls can add up quick and in a hurry. Don't forget the shots, literally! So what are the healthiest alcohol choices when you're on a diet, or eating healthy?
Just to clarify, I’m not saying drinking alcohol is healthy. But there are ways in which you can drink and also not gain your freshman fifteen back when you turn 30.
Drink Liquor Without The Mixers
Although not that tasty, drinking liquor neat (without ice, and meant to be sipped) or on the rocks (over ice) is the healthiest alcohol option when it comes to drinking liquor. When you start to mix drinks they become loaded with added calories, sugars, and simple carbs. Most mixed drinks are made with simple syrup, soda, or highly concentrated sugar additives to make them taste better. Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, its all fair game, as long as you drink it without the mixers. Having a Makers Mark on the rock, is only going to hover around 70-80 calories per drink. If you absolutely need some flavor, you can add some calorie free alternatives like soda water, or diet soda. But, drinking liquor straight will still prove to be the healthier alcohol choice.
Now, the argument can be made that part of going out and grabbing a drink is to celebrate, have fun and to treat yourself. So what’s a little celebration without getting the chance to let loose a bit. I agree. But fair warning, if you do take part in the regular weekend activity of heavy boozing, then don’t expect to keep your flat stomach and shapely quads. Drinking every weekend can set you back on your training, not to mention attribute to some lovely inflammation. You can drink alcohol and still lose weight, just remember everything in moderation.
(READ 11 ways to naturally reduce inflammation for more information)
A Glass Of Wine, Does Not Mean The Whole Bottle
Drinking a glass of wine a day, has proven to have some significant health benefits. Red wine is a potent antioxidant and contains the polyphenol reservatol, which is proven to promote cardiovascular health. But, like anything else in life, if you abuse it and drink a whole bottle, then you’re going to add an unhealthy amount of extra body fat, real quick. Wine, is sugar, and sugar spikes your blood glucose levels, which creates excess body fat.
No matter if you’re drinking pinot, rose, or cabernet, one glass of wine packs anywhere from 120-150 calories per glass. So despite it’s healthy antioxidant profile, finding a healthy balance is key, if you’re going to drink some vino.
But, I Love Beer
Let’s face it, drinking beer and maintaining your sweet body while you're on a diet, is next to impossible. (Unless you're an athlete) And rarely ever will you go out and just grab, “a beer.” One beer turns into three, and before you know it, you’re low-key wasted. The majority of beers from an IPA to Lager are going to have around 130-150 calories and up to 20 grams of carbs. That means just three beers, will provide you with a full meal with 500 calories and around 60 grams of carbs.
If you think that drinking, “healthier beer options”, like Michelob ultra, or Bud Light is a smarter way to go, then think again. To be blunt, if you’re trying to get a little toasty, it’s going to take you at least double the amount of light beer, as it would a normal beer. And at that rate, you’re still basically at the exact same place you would be if you just went for the bud heavy, and not the bud light.
Seeing as you’re a responsible adult, (or so I’d like to think), the key takeaway is really to drink responsibly and pace yourself. Yes, you can drink alcohol and still lose weight, but If you’re going out and your plan is to have some fun, then drink liquor on the rocks, or with a soda water back. Don’t drink two bottles of wine, or a 24 pack of beer. You’ll wake up with a raging headache and a dense coating of shame. Not to mention you’ll be under a 24-hour rainy cloud of regret. I'll say it again, everything in moderation. Drinking alcohol is like anything else. Too much of one thing can be bad, so make healthy choices so you can still meet your body goals.
You can have a good time, even when you don’t get wasted. Make sure to eat before you go out, so you don’t black out. And drink water between your drinks, so you don’t get completely smashed and embarrass yourself. Your dance moves are not that good, and your probably all shoulders anyway. Just kidding, I’m talking about myself.
Have a hard time keeping your diet on track because of your party hard weekends?