Image by: Ricardo Diaz
By Jake Bradshaw
We all love to throw down a few beers with the buddies from time to time. It seems to be a necessary thing to do, especially after a long day in the office. However, if you’re going to make your diet a big part of your life, you need to understand the facts about alcohol. Some drinks are just not meant to be had when you’re trying to be healthy.
Wine and Beer
The famous wine and beer specials that a lot of bars have need to be thought twice about. Wine is probably the best option to have, second to hard liquor. It has zero fat, zero sodium and zero cholesterol. When eating a high protein meal, wine is a great choice to have on the side since it won’t add to the calorie intake (typically it only has 20 calories per ounce).
Plus, red wine is an antioxidant which means it’s good for your heart and slowly protects your body with cancer. White wine has fewer carbs than red wine. Carbs will give you a belly gut if you’re not careful, which is why it’s important to note your meal when drinking white wine. If it’s a heavy carb meal, diss the white and go for red.
Beer comes with the stigma of the famous “beer gut.” This is because of the heavy carbs. We all love a good beer from time to time, it’s just a matter of finding the best ones. For fewer calories and carbs, it’s best to go for lighter beers and lagers. Ales tend to have more of everything in high quantities.
For a precise Nutrition Fact sheet of your favorite beers, check out Beer101.
By far the best idea in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while keeping your alcohol is by choosing to drink hard liquors – straight up, no mixers. Tequila by far has the most carbs of any liquor – be careful with this one, especially on National Margarita Day or Cinco de Mayo. Gin, white rum, scotch whiskey and vodka have ZERO carbs and very few calories.
On the rocks is the safest way to go. Hard liquor also has been said to speed up your metabolism since the alcohol can rush your heart rate and give you more energy. Usually vodka has the tendency to also clean out your insides – almost like an inner body bleaching.
Choose Mixers Wisely
In most drinks, the mixer is your biggest culprit – the sugars, the calories, the sodium – it’s a big ball of unnecessary fat. Plus, a man carrying hard liquor just looks better to a woman anyway. Mixers that you buy at the store are the worst, especially the cheap ones. As an alternative, make your own mixers. This way, you know what is going into the drink.
Think natural organic fruits with natural sugars. Grapefruits, strawberries, bananas, cranberries – all these mix well with alcohol during the digestive process, instead of targeting the bad chemicals in the alcohol which these processed mixers tend to do. Obviously, when you go out, you have little control over this. Mixing your liquor with soda water or other liquors is a great alternative.