Can You Drink and Lose Weight?

Sun, 02/19/2012 - 11:05

When you're trying to lose weight, alcohol is the number one enemy. With that being said, there are some healthier choices out there - here are a few clues to drinking while watching calories.

Whether it's cocktails on ladies' night out, a beer at the bar, or a glass of wine with dinner, most of us enjoy a drink (or two!) every now and again. But remember what I've been teaching you: In addition to being aware of the foods that are good for you, you need to know which ones are not so great. And let's face it — alcohol is in the latter camp.

Simply, alcohol can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It releases estrogen into your bloodstream, promotes fat storage, and decreases muscle growth. As soon as you have a drink, your body eats up all the glycogen (stored glucose) in your liver, makes you hungry, and reduces your inhibitions, so you're more likely to grab that chicken wing or stuffed potato skin at happy hour. Plus, alcoholic drinks contain many more calories than most people think — for example, a 20-ounce serving of beer can pack 250 calories, a 6-ounce glass of wine contains 120, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor contains about 100. And that's without any sugary mixers.

If you're serious about losing weight, it's best to put alcohol aside until you're in maintenance mode. If you are going to have a drink, choose wine, which may protect the heart and help lower inflammation. Or, opt for a drink with clear alcohol and no sugary mixers, such as a vodka and club soda or a tequila on the rocks with lime. One drink a day probably maxes out the benefits, though, so keep a cork in your alcohol consumption. Below is a list of the calorie count of most drinks — look over your usual favorites and remember their calorie count. Remember, when in doubt, go with a glass of wine or vodka and club soda.

Beer — 250 calories
Red or white wine — 120 calories
Daiquiri — 259 calories
Vodka and club soda — 64 calories
Champagne — 84 calories
Rum and Coke — 91 calories
Cosmopolitan — 230 calories
Bloody Mary — 140 calories
Sangria — 167 calories
Martini — 69 calories
Margarita — 270 calories