The following is an excerpt of an article I wrote that originally ran on t-nation.com, titled Dieting Disasters. To Read the entire article, click here:
Ditch the Calorie Containing Beverages!!!
This is usually the very first thing I tend to “tweak” when I start with a new client. Unless someone is actually trying to put on weight, I’d much rather someone EAT their calories than drink them; especially when dieting. I once worked with a woman who would drink two of those fully-loaded lattes from Starbucks every… ..single… ..day. She was easily ingesting 500+ calories per day from those alone. At first I limited her to one per day and eventually we took them out all together. She made fantastic progress.
If you’re one of those people who’s always had a difficult time losing weight/ fat, try getting rid of all calorie containing beverages from your diet. This includes, soda (diet soda is acceptable in moderation), fruit juice (nothing but concentrated sugar, deficient in the good stuff… fiber), lattes (heavy cream, sugar, etc), and GASP… alcohol.
I actually had a really great conversation with a colleague of mine about the effects of alcohol on fat oxidation (body’s ability to burn off fat) not too long ago. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any significant studies dealing with the topic, but my educated guess is that alcohol slows it down significantly.
Alcohol is basically a poison to the body and when you pound down six drinks (if not more for some people), the liver has to work diligently to process and excrete the alcohol from the body. And since alcohol has to go through the liver to be metabolized, it’s impossible for the body to burn fat during this time. So for those who have a tendency to drink a few times per week, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot in the long run. Not to mention you can only use the “beer goggle” excuse for so long.
I know many of you are thinking to yourself, “what about all those people who claim that drinking a glass or two of wine per night actually improves health?” A person who drinks a glass of wine or beer with dinner normally sits down and drinks it over 30 minutes or so. They relax and unwind. Rarely does someone POUND a glass of wine. So is it the wine consumption that makes them healthier, or the fact that they actually sit down and RELAX and enjoy it every night?
The same could be said for dark beer. Dark beer tends to be similar to wine in the sense that people generally don’t “chug” it. Also, it’s been shown that the flavonoids found in dark beer have the same characteristics as red wine in that it’s very high in antioxidants and helps to reduce the risk of blood clots. Again, is it the dark beer that offers the benefits, or the fact that people sit down to relax and enjoy it?
If I had to choose, I would prefer that people limit themselves to a drink (maybe two) a few nights per week rather than binging on the weekends during $1 beer nights at Hooters. And I would also prefer that people drink more water and green tea.