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How to be Smart About Consuming Alcohol

By Rachel Carver

For many of us, a social gathering with friends might involve an alcoholic beverage. Whether you enjoy a drink with dinner or share a toast with friends, alcohol comes in a variety of forms and flavors.

However, if you are trying to lose or maintain weight, the idea of any alcohol might seem overwhelming. Here's why it can be hard to balance.

Alcohol Means High Calories

People want to enjoy a drink for several reasons. But consuming alcohol comes at a high price tag. One gram of alcohol gives you 7 calories. One gram of carbs and 1 gram of protein each give you 4 calories. Fat is the only item that comes in higher at 9 calories per gram.

Metabolizing Alcohol Does Not Burn Calories

Alcohol enters our bloodstream very quickly. This means our bodies do not burn calories in its digestion as they do with carbs, fat, and protein. The liver sees alcohol as a toxin and prioritizes its removal before food, including fat.

Alcohol Drops Blood Sugar

A dropping blood sugar causes you to reach for carbs. The liver steadies blood sugar, but it can't do this when its busy metabolizing alcohol. This means your blood sugar stays low until the alcohol is metabolized, and you will probably wake up the next morning with a headache if you drink too much.

Alcohol Calories Not Burned Are Stored as Fat

All extra calories are stored this way. However, alcohol calories are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to get the alcohol-induced fat to your fat cells. Drinking too much too often can store fat around your mid-section.

You do not have to completely skip the alcohol at your next gathering. Here are some ways to be smart with alcohol.

Pour yourself half as much - This will help you limit your overall consumption.

Avoid high-calorie mixed drinks - Drinks such as margaritas, mudslides, and other sugary drinks can quickly add up. If you do have one of these, consider it your dessert.

Hydrate - Drink some water between beverages to stay hydrated.

Sip the drink - Take the time to enjoy your beverage.

Alcohol does not have to be completely off-limits. Focus on your portions. And stick to lower-calorie options such as vodka, rum, or light beer. You can still enjoy an alcoholic beverage without going overboard.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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