How to drink alcohol and make good progress
written by Philip Stefanov | FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Here are four actionable tactics:
1. Minimize fat intake on the day you go drinking. Instead, go for high protein and fiber consumption.
Once alcohol enters the liver, it is then broken down into acetate, which inhibits fat-burning and causes most of the fatty acids in your blood to be stored instead of spent.
One way to counter that effect is to control your caloric intake for that day. Since we know that the number one requirement for weight or fat gain is a caloric surplus, the mere consumption of alcohol won’t make you store fat when calories are controlled. Keep your calories at or below maintenance and you’ll ensure no fat gets stored.
If you’re bulking, limit your fat intake to about 0.3g per kilogram of body weight. If you’re not tracking macros, eat stuff like veggies, fruits, lean meats, low-fat cottage cheese, protein powder, and egg whites. To be on the safe side, lower your caloric intake a bit and eat at maintenance on that day.
2. Leave some calories for the alcohol.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one and it’s one of the most effective ways to enjoy moderate amounts of alcohol without “breaking” your diet, even on a daily basis.
If you regularly go out for drinks, you probably have a good idea of what and how much you’re going to drink. That makes it easy to track the calories. Say you enjoy having two beers after a long day. The average beer has about ~43 calories per 100 grams and it usually comes in a 330ml, 375ml, or 500ml bottle.
For the sake of this example, say your usual choice comes in a 500ml bottle. Two beers are 1000ml, at about 430 calories. Leave yourself about 450 calories for them and you’re in the clear.
3. Go for lower-calorie drinks.
If you limit your drinks to one or two and want to go for some beer or cocktails, go ahead. But keep in mind that a 500ml beer has about 215 calories and some cocktails go up to as much as 500 calories per glass. If you drink more than two, the calories can add up.
If you’d like to enjoy yourself and have three to five drinks over the course of a night out, go for lower-calorie options and/or mix them with diet sodas or sparkling water. Some good lower-calorie drinks are:
- Dry wines (an average of 90 calories per 3.5fl oz/100ml)
- Vodka, gin, whiskey (an average of 70 calories per shot/35ml/1.1fl oz)
- Rum, scotch (an average of 80 calories per shot/35ml/1.1fl oz)
- Tequila (an average of 98 calories per shot/45ml/1.5fl oz)
Most importantly, realize that some options might be better than others.
4. Don’t go overboard with the drinking.
I’m all for moderation and alcohol is no different. Alcohol provides many short and long-term benefits when consumed moderately. It also provides immediate benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Increased happiness, euphoria, conviviality, and carefree feelings
- Decreased tension, depression, and self-consciousness
- Improved certain types of cognitive performances, such as problem-solving and short-term memory
(The full review.)
Being able to enjoy things in moderation is important and helps build discipline and self-control. Drinking in moderation provides these benefits with little to no drawbacks.
Overdo it and things can get messy.
Thank you for reading! Until next week,
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