Thursday, March 15, 2012

Keeping Your Waistline In Mind On St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick's Day around the corner, many are heading to the bars to celebrate. Green beer sounds good to me, but not to your waist line. Alcohol negatively affects your fitness program in almost every way. Alcohol adds excess calories, increases your appetite, changes the way you burn fat and can add excess fat.

Many people forget about the calories that they drink, which can be dangerous when you are trying to lose weight. Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which is almost twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein and almost as much as fat (9 calories per gram.) All of this is providing little or no nutritional benefit.

Alcohol increases your appetite and lowers your inhibitions and reasoning, which can make that late night stop at a fast food restaurant seem like a good idea. Alcohol increases insulin levels which causes your blood sugar to take a significant dip, in turn making you more hungry. Research has shown that people consume 20% more calories at a meal when alcohol was consumed before, as opposed to when no alcohol was consumed. That results in a total 33% increase when the calories from alcohol are taken into account.

Also, alcohol changes the way that you burn fat. The calories in alcohol don't get stored as fat, they are converted into acetate. Acetate is burned off before any fat that you are trying to work off does. If you are tired or hungover the next day, you probably won't be going to the gym to work off the calories you packed on the night before.

Worst of all, alcohol causes you to make more fat and directs it to the fat stores located around the middle of your body. This fat is less proportionately distributed on your body, therefore more noticeable causing the infamous "beer belly." Also, excess weight around the abdomen is a contributing factor to heart disease.

Tips to help you have a good time, while still keeping your waistline in mind:

- Have one nonalcoholic drink between each alcoholic drink.
- Eat before you drink.
- Keep water on hand to quench your thirst, instead of guzzling your alcoholic drink.
- Sip your drinks to make them last longer.
- Avoid the high calorie drinks such as long islands or margaritas.

It is perfectly fine to have alcohol, in moderation. Moderation is two drinks a day for men and one drink for women. Drinking alcohol in moderation actually may have health benefits. When you consume alcohol regularly or binge drink, it may be counteracting all of your weight loss efforts.

"" MedicineNet. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.

Waehner, Paige. "Alcohol and Weight Gain." Exercise. 10 Nov. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <>.

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