The Skinny On Alcohol
With the right level of moderation, alcohol can be part of your healthy lifestyle. But before you go overboard with the libations ringing in the new year, let’s do a quick overview of the role alcohol plays in our diets – the good, the bad and the boozy:
Alcoholic drinks are created by fermenting sugar and have no nutritional value. No wonder they’re a notorious source of empty calories – and those calories come in the form of sugar alcohols, which tend to cause those unwanted blood sugar spikes and, over time, lead to unwanted weight gain.
It’s not news that too much alcohol can be a profoundly dangerous thing, and it goes without saying that if you have a family history of addiction, you should steer clear of drinking. Excessive alcohol use damages the liver and raises the risk of several types of cancer. On a more positive note, however, research shows that in moderation, and when combined with a healthy diet similar to the FastFit program, alcohol may actually boost cardiovascular health. Drinking in moderation means limiting yourself to one glass of wine, beer, or cocktail per day.
What to drink:
When you do decide to indulge in a cocktail, it’s important to understand that your choices – right down to the mixer – can determine whether or not you’re adding dozens of empty calories to your day. Traditional margaritas are among the worst offenders, packing a whopping 700+ calorie count, and often much of those calories are coming from high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden sweet & sour mix. Put some salt around the rim and you’ve treated yourself to some additional next-day bloat. Instead, try a vodka with club soda and just a squirt of cranberry juice for a touch of sweetness.
How to drink it:
The “when you eat is as important as what you eat” mantra applies to alcohol, too. Again, moderation is key. But it’s just as important to make sure you have some food in your stomach before you imbibe. Be sure you’ve got some protein and fiber in your system when you decide to have a cocktail. Cheers!
Happy new year!