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EATSMARTER! Exclusive

Does alcohol derail your weight loss?

There’s a lot of speculation as to whether alcohol derails your weight loss goals or not. The good news is; it is more the choices you make while partaking in after work cocktails than the alcohol itself. Simply making smart choices is the key to enjoying a glass of wine while working towards weight loss goals.

One of the biggest things to stay away from on a drink menu when on a diet is the mixed drink section. Most of the mixed drinks at a bar or restaurant are filled with sugar, which causes your blood sugar to rise and your cravings to jump. A general rule for ordering if you want to drink liquor is to keep it simple, meaning have soda water mixed with vodka or gin (with a lemon or lime) or a tequila on the rocks with a squeeze of fresh lime juice for a healthier take on a margarita.

Wine is typically the best choice, as long as you stick with the drier varieties as opposed to the sweet ones (such as Riesling.)  Plus, the antioxidants in red wine have shown to increase good cholesterol levels and help to protect the heart. This does not mean you should start having a bottle of red wine every evening, but in moderation, it can be beneficial.

There’s a reason an overhanging stomach is called a beer belly, the calorie content in most regular beer is quite high. Your best bet if you want to enjoy a beer or two is opt for a light beer instead. A 12 oz. light beer typically has about 30-40 fewer calories than regular varieties.

The other big problem associated with drinking and weight loss is that when we drink, we lose some of our abilities to make smart decisions. This can lead to us making food choices that are not part of our diets. The best thing to do when you know you will be imbibing is to either eat a filling meal (with protein, fiber, and carbohydrates) before you leave. Or make sure you have healthy (and diet-friendly) foods prepared so you will not have the chance to make a bad decision because you’ve already made a good choice for your buzzed self.

As with anything, it is important to drink in moderation. It is best to limit yourself to one drink a night or two if you are going to a social event. Just keep in mind that the one drink per night is not a cumulative thing, so if you skip a night you do not get to tag that drink onto another night. The more you drink the more empty-calories you will be consuming and the worse your decision-making skills will get, so drink responsibly!

The main thing to remember when heading to a bar or restaurant for drinks while watching your weight is to make smart choices. That means eating a healthy, filling meal beforehand, choosing wine over a sugary cocktail and having healthy foods around for when your alcohol-induced munchies kick in.

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