The holidays are swiftly upon us, and the one thing that will be a common theme at all of our parties and meet-ups is alcohol! We love it; we hate it! But there are a few great things to keep in mind before downing that bottle of Ciroc! Often, if you are a regular drinker, cutting alcohol consumption down or out completely leads to a great deal of immediate weight loss. And since a whopping 67 percent of Americans are overweight, I’m sure most of us would like to lose at least a couple of pounds. There are a number of ways that drinking habitually helps us and many more ways it hurts.
We all know that mixed drinks, beer, and some wines are high in calories. So weight gain is an obvious side effect. But excess drinking can also lead to other health dangers such as alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, and even cancer. Health experts say it also can interrupt your sleep pattern. I’ve noticed in many different studies that lack of sleep sets off a chain reaction that causes your body to slow down its natural ability to fight stress, fatigue, inflammation, infection, get rid of waste, etc. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle that we all need to be aware of and correct for our health and our beauty!
I admit, there are those nights I like to go out, have a couple of drinks with friends or colleagues, have some good food and do it again two more times that same week. It’s the lifestyle of a city professional. What can I say? At the Passionistas’ launch, I had a great time! Met some new people, and the food was good. I set a limit for myself at two drinks. And that was perfect! A vodka tonic is what my fit brother and trainer recommend. Very low sugar and calories. I felt no guilt, which is another amazing benefit of disciplining yourself. Men’s Health Magazine also suggests making the second drink the ‘last call for alcohol’. In a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that one or two drinks per day actually decreased blood pressure slightly. Three drinks or more a day, however, elevated blood pressure by an average of 10 points. The type of alcohol doesn’t matter. Order a Screwdriver, Incredible Hulk, or a glass of wine, but limit yourself to two drinks!
Know what to drink and what not to for weight loss.
Alcohol, like soda, adds calories to our system that is not recognized by our brain; otherwise knows as empty calories. We don’t end up full or satisfied, so it leads to excess eating. In fact, research also shows that alcohol consumption makes you eat more and encourages your body to burn less fat. When Swiss researchers gave eight healthy folks enough alcohol to exceed their daily calorie requirements by 25% (about 4-5 beers), they found that the ability to burn fat was impaired by as much as 36%. And it also helps to STORE fat. I already have enough fat storage! Your body sees it as poison and tries to get rid of it. The liver then stops processing other calories until it’s finished processing whatever you drank. So anything else you eat likely will turn into fat. That sounds horrible! Most of the studies I’ve read suggest that it’s best to just cut out alcohol completely. But who’s going to do that, right?!?
Something to Wine about…Red wine that is…
– Consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be preventative against coronary heart disease.
– Wine drinking correlates with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
– Resveratrol (an ingredient found in wine) can reduce your risk of heart disease and raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol), increasing heart health and can thin blood, decreasing the risk of blood clots.
– The phytochemicals in wine, specifically flavanoids and resveratrol, are two antioxidants that act to prevent aging cell damage within your body.
– Red wine reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.
So go ahead this holiday season, grab a friend and open a bottle! Let toast to great health this holiday season and beyond!