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Can Alcohol Ruin My Diet?
  • Arati Shah

  • 05, Dec. 2019

Can Alcohol Ruin My Diet?

Leisure drinking is a global phenomenon, which is a result of various reasons like unhappy home environment, high stress levels or increase in the party culture. So, can alcohol ruin your diet plan? Well, reaching out for a light beer occasionally or sipping onto your favorite red wine once in a while at a fancy dinner is not going to blow away any weight loss program or weight management program. However,when the frequency and glass size starts increasing, the problem beginsto rise.In fact, with binge drinking on the rise, India is facing a major health crisis. According to a study published in The Lancet journal, India’s alcohol intake has increased by 38% between 2010 and 2017. This is important enough to sit up and take notice as alcohol also causes clinical issues which makes it important from the aspect of clinical nutrition programs too. 

Nights turning into days, countless bottom’s up and the fried snack keeping you company, isn’t this what the idea of ‘fun’ has turned into now? But what next? Effect of drinking is not only apounding headache on the next day but there are some long-term effects too. 

Here they are: 

Excess weight gain 

Did you know that a gram of alcohol is only 2 kcal away from that of what fat is giving you,i.e. 1 g alcohol = 7kcal and 1g of fat = 9kcal. Most of the alcoholic beverages are stacked with carbs, additives, syrups and flavor enhancers. Alcohol provides nothing but empty calories (low nutritional value). Intake of these beverages add up to your daily calorie intake and one usually ends up consuming a lot more calories than he/she needs, thus reducing the effectiveness of any weight management program. So, the first step if you are looking for weight loss solutions is to steer clear of alcohol. 

Well, alcohol is not the only problem here! Ordinarily, drinks are served with snacks which are either fried, processed, high in fats or refined. What makes it worse is the increased hunger and poor judgment skillsOnce we start sipping on the alcohol, our hunger tends to increase and so do the portion sizesThere is enough evidence that proposes that traits that lead to binge drinking may also predispose binge eating. This too adds up to the unnecessary calories.  

High body fat  

Alcohol affects the energy storage of the body. Frequent consumption of alcohol can inhibit fat oxidation which means it spares fat from being used for energy which leads to a higher body fat percentage. 

Words like ‘beer belly’ or ‘beer gut’ aren’t just myths. Foods or beverages that are high in calories and especially ‘empty calories’ can lead to speedy and unhealthy weight gain. Not to be surprised, this weight gain only leads to an increase in the body’s fat percentage and the chances of dyslipidemia too rise. There is a high tendency of this fat accumulating around the belly/abdomen area and hence the ‘beer belly’. 

Sleep deprivation 

There are many who turn to alcohol when they have difficulties falling asleep. However,studies have proven quite the opposite- high consumption of alcohol has shown to increase the periods of wakefulness in an individual’s sleep cycle. When issues like not getting well rested sleep or insufficient sleeping hours become a problem on a recurrent basis, it can start affecting the body’s hormones. There can be an imbalance in the hormones that are responsible for controlling hunger and satiety, leading to weight gain. 

Effect on the liver and pancreas 

Too much alcohol over a period of time can have an effect on the liver and the pancreas, both a part of the digestive process of the body. It can lead to the development of fatty liver which is a chronic condition wherein there is a buildup of fat in the liver. 

But,if you must drink, atleast lessen the effect 

Cutting out alcohol maybe the best thing for your health & fitness goals but it may not be practical for all. So, here are some tips from us: 

Eat before! 

Many people tend to drink while they’re starving. Drinking on an empty stomach can make the alcohol reach the bloodstream faster than it would if you had eaten before. So, make sure you are eating something before and during your drinking sessions. (make sure it’s healthy) 

Slow Down! 

Chugging those drinks down may not be the best thing to do while you are trying to lose weight. Try sipping on your drink rather than gulping down one after the other. Keeping an eye on the number of drinks consumed would be wise. 

Give the sugary cocktails a miss! 

Stay away from the mixed and unfamiliar drinks, they are high in calories and don’t even give you the kick you are looking for. For example a vodka soda would make a wise choice. 

Prevent mindless munching! 

Keep a watchful eye on the snacks like fried peanuts, chips and other fried snacks ordered. There is some research that shows that if food is in front of you, one will mindlessly munch on it without any realization and also with no hunger. If food is at an arms-length one is less likely to go for it.  

So, a night of binge drinking can have a profound effect on the body - dehydration, lethargy, headache being some of them. Alcohol itself is not a problem. The problem is the multiple drinks or what we call as binge drinking. Drinking mindfully with controlled intake can’t completely sabotage a fat loss program or weight loss program although alcohol does add up to the total calories. Budgeting the calories into your diet with the help of weight loss centers in Mumbai would be ideal to help reach your goals. In case alcohol is the reason for fatty liver or a pancreatic disorder, a clinical nutrition program should be undertaken under an able clinical nutritionist.