Trying to lose weight? You probably don’t need me to tell you that it can feel like an uphill battle. If you’re failing to slim down, though, it’s worth looking at what the reason could be. Believe it or not, drinking alcohol could be the cause of your failure here. Here’s what you need to know about how it can affect your diet.
How does alcohol affect your diet?
Before now, there was a lack of research into how much people eat when they are drinking. When we’re on calorie-restricted diets, sticking to a healthy eating plan can be simple enough during the day. However, when we become intoxicated, many of us experience extreme hunger pangs. What’s more, the next day when we’re hungover, we may also be tempted to eat high-fat or deep-fried foods.
“Given the obesity epidemic and the rates of alcohol consumption on college campuses, we need to be aware of not only the negative effect of alcohol consumption but also the impact it has on what people are eating while they are drinking,” explains Jessica Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Do you have the ‘drunchies’?
The brand new study from the University at Buffalo suggests that drinking alcohol could be to blame for your weight loss woes. The reason is that when people consume alcoholic drinks, they often find themselves feeling hungrier than they otherwise would. The team dubbed this phenomenon the ‘drunchies’ (or the drunk munchies) and say that it could be the underlying cause of so many people struggling with shedding some pounds.
Researchers worked with a team of students to determine what type of food people eat when they are drunk and hungover. The aim was to find out what heavy episodic drinking (also known as binge-drinking) and the subsequent dietary choices that people make. The outcome showed that we make poorer food choices when we’ve had alcohol.
“So, we dug a bit deeper and first figured out what the ‘drunchies’ were,” Kruger explains about the study’s initial idea. “And then decided this would be interesting to study. Our first study in this area focused on what people ate while drinking alcohol. This study explored what they eat the day after drinking.”
A massive 65% of college students in the US report that they regularly drink too much alcohol. The problem is not merely specific to young people, though. Many of us drink more than we should on a regular basis. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that men should drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day while women should drink no more than one. Of course, it goes without saying that many of us exceed this.
How to curb binge-drinking
If you’re trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, cutting back on your alcohol consumption is a smart place to start. However, that is often easier said than done. Should you already be in the habit of drinking a lot on a regular basis, you may find that this small lifestyle shift is a difficult one. With that in mind, here are some ideas to help you:
Consider how you drink
You know yourself better than anybody else and, the truth is, that you likely understand your current drinking patterns. Consider what the problem is when it comes to alcohol. Do you drink too quickly? Do you use alcohol to calm your nerves? Are you swayed by other people when it comes to drinking? Identifying the issue is the first step.
Reach out for social support
Do you have a problem when it comes to alcohol? If the answer is yes, getting some support is the best course of action. Tell your friends and family that you’re worried about this issue and ask for their help. When you’ve made a promise to work toward a healthier and happier future, it will be easier to stay on track.
Avoid ‘danger’ situations
Is there a situation in which you’re likely to overdo it with alcohol? For example, you may find that you drink a lot at parties, meals out, or awkward social events. If you can pinpoint the times when you drink the most, you can also avoid them. This solution doesn’t have to last forever but may help you to cut back in the short term.
Speak to a professional
Need some extra support? Speaking to a professional or doctor about the issue could be the way to go. Getting that extra level of support could be what you need. Alcohol addiction is a serious condition. You can get some help from medical professionals.
Are you on a journey towards better health? If you want to improve your fitness levels, don’t be shy. Contact me today and let’s work together.