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May 27, 2013

Ask Sima: Part II, Drinking Alcohol and Losing Weight

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/ask_sima_part_ii_drinking_alcohol_and_losing_weight/

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“Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?”

I get this question a lot and the answer, of course, is YES! We all love to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail now and again. But you do have to be smart about it! The impact that alcohol has on weight loss can be classified by two things: calories and alcohol content.

When it comes to calories, you’ll rack these up by adding lots of sugary mixers to cocktails. Margaritas often contain as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar! And the other mixers can be double the amount of calories of the alcohol itself. For example, a 1 ounce shot of tequila is only about 64 calories. But a margarita cocktail, which contains tequila, will cost you over 200 calories! Yikes! And the mixers are made of the worst kind of calories: simple or refined sugar. Combine those with the effects of alcohol, and it’s double the damage on your health.

As far as alcohol content goes, let’s just clear up the myth right now: alcohol does not make you fat. But it does change your body’s metabolic priority, which can be a doozy if you drink often (more than one drink per day). Your body MUST process alcohol before it can process anything else. That mean, instead of working on fat burning your body is busy safely getting rid of the cocktail you just consumed. That means high circulating levels of fat (especially if you’re also consuming bar food) and inhibited fat burning.

But, there are upsides. 1 drink per day (for women) have actually been show to increase your HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and studies do show that people who have a couple of drinks per week actually live longer. So, while enjoying alcohol safely, keep these 3 things in mind:

1. Know your serving sizes.
A red wine glass can hold up to 14 ounces of liquid, but a single serving of wine is just 5 ounces.
2. Hold the mixers.
Make your margaritas with REAL fresh squeezed lime juice, switch to diet tonic water, or use club soda, which is naturally calorie-free.
3. Cheat!
Reserve your alcoholic drinks for your cheat meal, and you will significantly reduce their caloric impact on your body.

Here are just a few alcohol drinks you can enjoy without all the guilt:
Vodka and Club Soda (1.5 oz. Vodka, 1 oz. Club Soda)
Acai Pom Codder (1.5 oz. Absolut Acai Berry Vodka, 1 oz. low sugar pomegranate juice, garnish with orange slice)
Red or White Wine (5 oz.)
Champagne (5 oz.)

Let me know in the comments if this post resonated with you and if you have any questions or tips I haven’t already covered!

To your health and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Sima Cohen

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