By David Ball.

Here are some vital tips about how to manage alcohol into your diet.

Now don’t get me wrong, regular alcohol consumption will undoubtedly scupper your attempts at improving your health and body composition, so this isn’t a blog telling you it’s ok start hitting the bottle. But it may help you to fit the odd night out or a glass of wine with your evening meal into your life without it ruining your progress. It’s important to enjoy life and that should include the odd drink if it’s what you enjoy.

First of all it’s important to realise why a few drinks can spoil your progress, we get calories from our food in the form of the 3 macronutrients, protein, fats and carbohydrates. The amount of calories we consume means we gain or lose weight. Alcohol though also gives you calories, for every 1g you consume you have added an extra 7 calories to your diet. (This is not including any extra calories from protein/fats/carbs).

Too put this in real terms.

  • 1 bottle of lager                       92 calories from alcohol.
  • 250ml of white wine               210 calories from alcohol.
  • 1 shot of gin                            70 calories from alcohol.

Add in the extra calories and you get

  • 1 bottle of lager                       152 calories.
  • 250ml of white wine               246 calories.
  • Gin and tonic                           122 calories.

So if every Saturday night you enjoy 8 of those beers with your pals, you are actually adding around 1,216 calories to your diet. (Let’s not even get started on the pizza at 2am).

If you’re a macro counter like me you can be very specific, by dividing the calories in your drink by 9 you sacrifice some of your fats of by 4 and sacrifice your carbohydrates. E.g. 92 alcohol calories from your beer would mean 10g less fat or 23g less carbohydrates from your daily targets. Never take anything away from your protein goal.

For those who don’t track I would recommend making sure you are still consuming plenty of the usual nutritious proteins and green veg but maybe try consuming a little less carbohydrates or fats than you usually do.

Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day before you go out and when you get home. Plus make sure you get straight back to the normal diet the next day, no hangover binges. But perhaps most importantly make sure that alcohol isn’t becoming a regular thing, once in a while is fine, but if you’re hoping for real changes to your body composition, every weekend having a lot to drink is not going to get you where you want to be.

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