"What's the best alcoholic beverage to drink without sacrificing my health and fitness goals?"
I hear this question year-round, but it comes up quite frequently around New Year's Eve. I hear it from runners looking to relax a bit without sacrificing their training efforts. I hear it from moms looking to unwind with friends without blowing a day worth of healthy food choices. I hear it from men and women of all ages who have serious weight loss goals.
Given that there are no issues with alcohol addiction, no prescription meds being taken that mix poorly with alcohol, and no disease or health condition for which alcohol is not advised, my answer is always the same:
The best drink to consume without sacrificing your health and fitness goals is ONE drink. Pick something you really love, drink it out of a reasonable-sized glass (one that is smaller than an adult-sized cowboy boot, preferably), drink it slowly and enjoy.
There may actually be health benefits to one quality drink of wine or beer, but after the second, third and fourth drink is added, you lose those benefits and start bringing on the negative health impact. And not only are you consuming plenty of empty calories, lessened inhibition can result in lousy food choices. And adding insult to injury, late night after-parties and hungover day-afters drive us toward foods that are nutritionally poor and calorically dense (that's a euphemism for pizza, French fries, waffles and pancakes).
The one-drink recommendation is good, solid advice. Like much of the guidance I give to my clients, just because it's good doesn't mean that my clients will follow it 100% of the time, nor do I expect them to. If you have a second glass of champagne or even a third on New Year's Eve, it likely won't wreck your health and fitness goals as long as it's an exception, not the rule--just make sure you have plenty of room on your credit card to cover the Uber surge hours charge to get home.
Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!
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