June 13, 2023 mdchino

How Your Beverages Can Undermine Your Health Goals

For most of our medical weight loss clients, their very first lesson is on nutrition and calories in food. Many worry that their eating plans won’t be any fun, and so we talk about ways to make healthy foods more tasty and festive. But beverages are another concern. For those who enjoy beer, wine, or cocktails, giving those up can feel like quite a challenge.

Unfortunately, drinking alcoholic beverages can indeed undermine your medical weight loss plan, along with your health goals in general. We all know that alcohol carries some negative health effects. But specifically regarding weight loss, your favorite drinks can complicate your plans significantly for several reasons.

The most obvious reason is the calories contained in alcoholic drinks. One beer can contain 150 calories or more. A glass of wine contains about 120 calories, and those sugary cocktails can range from 200 to over 500 calories each!

But alcohol also disrupts sleep patterns, which in turn throws off your hormones that control appetite and satiety. And because alcohol dehydrates you, you might not consume enough water to accomplish healthy digestion.

But the biggest problem with alcohol is that it blocks nutrient absorption and changes the way your liver processes sugar. Over time, significant or even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain for all of the above reasons.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite fun beverage. Like other aspects of your eating plan, you just need to adjust your “menu” a bit. A light beer or glass of wine is better than heavier beers and sugary cocktails. Or if you do want to indulge a cocktail, try a shot of your favorite liquor in a calorie-free, flavored sparkling water. Add a sprig of mint or basil, or infuse the drink with chunks of watermelon, and you can enjoy a festive summer cocktail while minimizing the caloric impact.

And of course, we should discuss this issue at your next appointment. We can help you balance your eating plan so that you don’t have to give up all the fun!

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