Should You Drink on a Diet?

When trying to lose weight on a diet, you may find you can really use a drink! After all, a stressful week of work, healthy eating, and exercise can leave you feeling in need of relaxation, and few things work quite as well as a nice glass or shot of something strong. But is drinking on a diet really the right choice? Should you drink on a diet, or is it bad for your diet plan?

The Danger of Drinking on a Diet

One of the biggest risks of drinking while on a diet is that you’re not JUST drinking. Aside from the fact that you’re consuming a lot of empty calories—calories of sugar and alcohol that provide no real nutrition—the real threat is that alcohol loosens your inhibitions and self-control so much that you end up eating the wrong foods. Most people find that they’re more likely to cheat or have “just a little bit” of something they shouldn’t because of their alcoholic beverage. You run the risk of seriously breaking your diet and setting yourself back a few weeks because you binge-eat the wrong foods!

The Calorie Danger

No matter what you drink, you will be consuming a lot of useless calories in every sip. The lowest-calorie alcohol is vodka, and it still delivers around 40-80 calories per highball drink—and that’s not counting the simple syrup or flavorings added in. A light beer will be around 110 calories per can or glass, and darker beer rises to 300 or more calories. If you start mixing drinks—with fruit juice or soda—you can see that calorie intake rise to upwards of 500 in a single large-sized mixed drink. All those sugar-based calories are going straight to your waistline, and they definitely won’t do your diet any favors!

Count Your Drinks!

If you’re going to take the risk of drinking while on your diet, the most important thing to remember is that you should ALWAYS count your drinks! Counting drinks will ensure that you stay conscious of how many calories you’re putting into your body. You won’t just let things slide while you’re having a good time, but you’ll remain aware of your food and drink choices. Your goal should typically be to limit yourself to one drink—one glass of beer, one glass of wine, one low-calorie mixed drink, or one shot of alcohol. That way, you keep your calorie intake low. However, if you got above three drinks, you’re well and truly off the diet train.

Slim it Down

If you can find low-carb light beer, you’ll end up consuming far fewer calories than you would with a regular light beer—much less a dark beer or IPA. A vodka soda sans sweetener is a great low-calorie choice, or you can have a shot of vodka mixed with a few ounces of unsweetened lime juice. The sugar and calories in a single glass of red wine may be offset by the cardiovascular health benefits it provides, but too many glasses of wine is just unnecessary.

Slow it Down

If you want to avoid drinking—or overdrinking—while on your diet, the secret is to start slow and stay slow. Don’t have a drink the moment you walk into the party or sit down at the dinner table, but start off with water. Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, you can order one drink. Drink it slowly, and follow it up with a glass or two of water. Try and make it the only drink of the night, but if you’re going to order another round, make sure to give yourself at least an hour or more between drinks.

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