Spring has sprung! The last remnants of winter have melted, giving way to longer, warmer, and sunnier days. There is sure to be no shortage of summer activities.
Whether indoor or out, they will undoubtedly be filled with our favorite indulgences. As you peel off those layers to show off all your hard work this past winter, keep your New Years resolution in check to make sure you celebrate with smart choices.
Nothing says spring/summer like beer. It can be hard to resist knocking back a few cold beers on a hot summer day watching the Indians play ball. However, overindulging can be a serious hindrance to your fitness progress. If you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, but don’t want to give up that favorite treat, keep in mind that low calorie beers can offer some palatable options to those otherwise full, calorie-laden brands. The last thing you want is to slow, halt or regress your progress.
When choosing a beer, be cognizant of labels that read “cider, stout, ale and IPA”. These brands tend to be higher in calories, carbs, and alcohol content. It is beneficial to your results and waistline to choose lighter options. Take a look at these 99 calories or less varieties in descending order:
Corona Light 99
Heineken Light 99
Yeungling Light Lager 99
Miller Lite 96
Natural Light 95
Michelob Ultra 95
Anheuser-Busch Light Pale Lager 95
Amstel Light 95
Miller 64 64
Beck’s Premier Light 63
Budweiser Select 55 55
Moderation, Alcohol and Weight Gain
If you drink it in moderation, beer (just like wine, spirits, or other alcohol) can have health benefits such as increasing good cholesterol—this means limiting yourself to one drink per day for women, or two for men. But, no one really goes out for just one beer…do they?
Beer tends to be associated with a lifestyle that increases the chances you’ll overindulge, not only on alcohol, but also on food—not always the best choices, I might add, and rarely the right time. To understand how this can contribute to weight gain, consider the following:
When there is alcohol in your system, your body will give alcohol priority with metabolizing over everything else. So, let’s say you drink a six-pack of light beer (600 calories) and you get hungry and decide you really want a big mac (500+ calories). Your body will devote all its attention to getting rid of those alcohol calories first. By the time you’ve burned off the 600 calories from the beer, you’ll probably be asleep and those 500+ burger calories will have been converted to fat in your body.
Rather than drink on an empty stomach, or falling prey to the latter scenario, try having a little food in your stomach before drinking, preferably something healthy and not packed with calories of its own. It would be wise to steer clear of the empty stomach binge drinking, light beer or not, and NEVER fall victim to the late night drive thru’s or pizza deliveries!
Takeaway: It really is all about balance, good choices, and a little give and take. Finding the right combination for you is what will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling deprived, and still allow you to stay on course to achieve and/or maintain all of your fitness goals.