If we speak about a universal goal, weight loss tops the charts. The pursuit of losing weight is a serious one, and people are ready to go the extra mile to lose that flab. But what are some tricks that work? Well, we already know reducing the consumption of junk food is important, but cutting down on even a single alcohol drink can help you in a big way.
The Shape of You singer Ed Sheeran has confessed to cutting down on alcohol – and changing his pizza-beer habits in the pursuit of a healthy life. From two bottles of wine, he has gone to an occasional drink. And he has lost weight! To understand the details, we got in touch with Parul Malhotra Bahl, Nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Educator.
Here’s what she has to say, “Alcohol is nothing but empty calories. I am sure if you know the calorie count, you will be more mindful while having a drink. Around 1 gm fat has 9 calories, and 1 gm of alcohol has 7 calories. So, with zero nutrition, you are consuming calories that are equivalent to fats!”
A standard drink usually has about 14 gm alcohol. So let’s do the math here:
1 gm alcohol = 7 calories
14 gm alcohol (1 drink) = 98 calories
“Generally, people stop eating healthy carbs and fats to cut down on their calorie intake in the name of weight loss. But they forget that they are cutting down on several healthy nutrients by doing that. Instead, why not cut down on those empty calories coming from alcohol? Even if you cut down your consumption by one drink, you are helping yourself by cutting down 98 calories straight,” shares Bahl.
Bahl says it is better to consume the same calories from more nourishing sources. For example, a glass of blueberry/strawberry and curd smoothie, or just 14 almonds will give you similar calories, but a dose full of antioxidants, protein, vitamins, minerals as well as fiber.
Plus, if you are looking to lose weight, your body has to be at a high metabolic rate in order to burn more fat, and that is possible only when your body is well-nourished.
You don’t have to go cold turkey on alcohol. It’s just important to have it mindfully. Have it in moderation; say not more than 1-2 drinks per week.
Here’s how you can have alcohol and still lose weight, according to Bahl:
1. Try to have a protein-rich dinner, before you head out for drinks. Protein keeps you satiated for long, and keeps the desire to have excess alcohol at bay.
2. If you do not have dinner before stepping out, be wise when pairing snacks with drinks, as they will be adding on to more calories.
“Choose high-fiber, protein-rich, and less salty snacks (like salads with lemon or vinegar dressing, roasted unsalted peanuts, chicken/fish/paneer tikkas or kebabs) over fattening and salt-dense snacks (like fried peanuts, fried chicken/fish, salads with heavy dressings, fried chips etc). Again, be mindful of eating snacks in moderation too,” says Bahl.
3. Remember that alcohol can easily take away your judgment power, because of which it gets easier for you to eat mindlessly with drinks. So, to avoid that, drink slowly and never on an empty stomach.
4. Make sure you keep yourself well-hydrated. Alternate your drinks with a glass of water. Alcohol flushes out faster from a well-hydrated body.
5. “Choose your drinks wisely. Pick low-calorie drinks (like red wine, brut champagne, whisky/vodka on rocks, gin, and tonic, light beer) over calorie-dense drinks (like sugary cocktails, craft beer, pina colada, mulled wine, long island tea, etc),” concludes Bahl.
While cutting alcohol may lead to weight loss, don’t forget the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise and good habits in giving you a holistic makeover. Even Ed Sheeran didn’t compromise on it!