The liquid diet: how alcohol can destroy a diet

We have talked in the past about the importance of discovering hidden fats and calories in the foods we eat. I showed how a salad, a sandwich, or any other common type of food can quickly double the fat and calories when the wrong ingredients are included. However, there are some things that some of us cannot live without. By this I mean our daily glass of wine, the beer after work, or the fancy cocktail with dinner. It seems that the allure of a cool cocktail (or two) awaits us on every avenue of our lives. For the tea drinker, the problem is non-existent. But for the rest of us, drinking can quickly become an addition to the diet-busting bulge.

The problem with alcoholic beverages is threefold:

First, alcohol builds up and nearly doubles the calorie content of any type of juice, soda, or blender.

The average one-ounce shot of hard liquor contains around 70 to 75 calories with some darker spirits like bourbon and brandy slightly more. Add a shot of liquor to a few ounces of tonic or cola and the calorie count is in the hundreds. And those exotic pina coladas or margaritas can go even higher than that. By any measure, one drink will not ruin any diet, yet one drink is rarely a common thing …

Second, one drink usually takes two.

The taste of a drink is fresh and satisfying. The second is even better, and it is. Rarely in any social setting where alcohol is consumed, it is limited to just one cocktail. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, which sometimes leads to more alcohol and therefore more calories. And after one more drink it almost always ends in the worst case …

Third, alcohol almost always leads to eating and overeating.

Alcohol and its effects often set the stage for bingeing. With just two drinks, your body seeks a heavier and more satisfying type of food, and you guessed it, even more calories. Almost anyone’s caloric cycle under the influence of a few drinks can be a hidden dietary disaster. The binge will almost certainly occur.

The fat mindset regarding drinking can lead us in many wrong directions. Common misperceptions of alcohol lead to overuse and unknown consumption of hundreds (if not thousands) of calories in a single night. The number one mistake that people who drink and try to lose weight make is to perceive alcoholic beverages as a liquid and, therefore, they do not harm the diet. I can’t stress enough … that alcohol leads to fat. The “beer gut” is not a wife’s tale, it really exists. Anyone who follows a perfect diet, but drinks frequently, is guaranteed to gain weight.

The best remedy for anyone who enjoys alcohol is to educate yourself on the calorie content of what you are consuming – most wines contain around 90-100 calories per glass. Most full-bodied beers contain between 140 and 200 calories per 12-ounce glass, and light beers have a more reasonable value of 100-110 calories per glass. And again, most clear spirits contain around 70 calories per ounce, so pair them with diet soda or soda for the “best choice” of alcoholic beverages. The other best alternatives would be wines or light beer. Stay away from harmful mixed drinks and full-bodied beers.

Another important thing to keep in mind with regards to drinking is to pay attention to how often you do it. The casual daily glass of wine or the few beers here and there add up. Set a schedule to monitor how often you drink alcoholic beverages. Take a night or two a week to have a drink if you wish, so you don’t indulge in these diet-breaking pleasures.

Last, and sometimes most importantly, get ready for what you’re going to eat after you’ve had a few cocktails. However, make your preparations beforehand. Have a healthy, light snack ready to eat after a night of cocktails. This way you steer clear of the more tempting post-drinking options. In short, a night of drinking loads your body with a good amount of unnecessary calories. Do your best to dodge the heaviest cocktails at the bar and the heaviest fares afterward.