The Drinking Bulge

Enough information on alcohol-related weight gain to get you intoxicated.

Whether you’re a social drinker or enjoy sipping on an occasional beer in the peace and quiet of your home, you will agree that alcohol makes life better. Unfortunately, as you may have realized, too much alcohol can lead to a little pudge in your middle – and anywhere else you tend to gain weight.

Why does it do this, and what can you do to avoid it? Read on to find out.

Alcohol’s Effect

While alcohol is busy doing fun things with your head, it is doing some rather different things with the rest of your body. Instead of falling in line behind all your other calories, waiting patiently to get burned off, alcohol-based calories skip line and become the first to get removed from your system. Though it is nice to be able to get rid of alcohol’s calories right off the bat, it causes all those other calories you just ate at the bar to sit still and turn into fat.

On top of that, with every sip of alcohol, you tend to feel better. At the same time, you tend to slow down. Drink enough and you’re so worn out that all you can do is pass out until the following morning. What’s wrong with calling it a night after downing a handful of alcoholic beverages? You give all those calories a chance to do nothing but sit still and add to your waistline. Think getting that beer or wine buzz is still worth it? Then you’ll need to pay particular attention to what’s coming next.

Bye-Bye, Beer Belly

For many, alcohol is a part of life. It doesn’t interfere, cause the person to lose control, or result in poor decisions that will be greatly regretted later. But it still adds to the amount of calories consumed. With that in mind, it is important to have a good game plan to turn the keg that has developed in your abdomen into a six-pack.

Ready to fight for your healthy shape? You’ll need to do the hard thing. You’ll have to learn to drink less alcohol. A great way to do this is to go into any potential drinking situation planning to have no more than one drink. It sounds difficult, but it can be done. Simply order a glass of water to go with your alcohol and drink your alcohol slowly and surely.

In addition, you can trim your wine-induced love handles the old fashioned way. Get to the gym and work up a good sweat. When you’re there, remember that you can do all the exercises you want to try and hone in on your trouble spots, but they won’t do any good until you’re getting full-body cardio. Also, once you get home, you aren’t off the hook. If you’re serious about warding off alcohol-related pounds, be sure to maintain a well-balanced diet all of the time, swapping out high-fat foods for low-fat options and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Fattest Drinks

Like most foods and drinks, alcoholic beverages are not created equal. Some are a tad bit tastier, and others are a good deal fattier. Which drinks should you be particularly wary of? Check out the list below to learn what drinks are the most calorie-laden.

  • Budweiser (12 ounces), 145 calories
  • Gin and Tonic (9.5 ounces total, 1.5 ounces of Gin), 200 calories
  • Long Island Iced Tea (9.5 ounces total, 1.5 ounces of alcohol), as many as 550 calories
  • Margarita (9.5 ounces total, 1.5 ounces of alcohol), as many as 500 calories
  • Ruby Port (8 ounces), 185 calories
  • Sam Adams Boston Lager (12 ounces), 160 calories
  • White Chardonnay (8 ounces), 90 calories
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Energy Drinks and Alcohol Anyone?

Diet

A dangerous and even deadly combination.

Combining alcohol and other everyday drinks is nothing new. From soda to tomato juice to lemon juice, there are as many options as there are taste buds. One of the newest combos to hit lips in your town is alcohol and energy drinks.

During the early days of energy drinks, there was some skepticism that they were not safe for regular consumption. As more energy drink companies began promoting their products and regular people began safely drinking them on a regular basis, the public has become less wary. Now, the energy-boosting beverages are treated like ordinary soft drinks. Unfortunately, not handling these caffeinated cans with care can lead to some serious issues. Especially when mixed with alcohol.

A Collegiate Conundrum

College students and college-aged individuals are at the highest risk for chasing energy drinks with alcohol, a phenomenon known as AMED (alcohol mixed with energy drinks). In fact, it has become commonplace for these youngsters to mix energy drinks and alcohol into a caffeinated, alcoholic cocktail. To the drinkers, the mixture seems heaven-sent. The desired alcoholic buzz is achieved, but the energy drink keeps them from growing tired.

What many of these AMED drinkers don’t know is that while they’re not getting tired, the other effects of alcohol remain the same. That means that while downing an energy drink and a beer may leave the drinker wide awake, the alcohol still results in impaired judgment, lapses in social graces, vision problems, and slowed reflexes. And surprisingly, though the caffeine in energy drinks keeps folks drinking longer and stronger, it actually increases intoxication.

Dangers Abound

When these regular effects of alcohol are ignored and the drinker decides to depend on the energy drink for good judgment and reflexes, the results can be catastrophic. AMED cocktail drinkers are more likely to leave a bar with high levels of alcohol in their system, putting them at risk for serious automobile accidents that result in injury or even death.

During a small study, it was found that people who drank AMED cocktails or who drank energy drinks and alcohol separately consumed more alcohol and drank for longer time periods. But the dangers don’t stop there.

Sipping on an AMED also puts you at increased risk for heart problems. As an energy drink and alcoholic beverage each do different things to your heart (one slows it down, while the other speeds it up), these mixed messages confuse the heart and can result in dangerous heart palpitations. These drinks also increased the likelihood of becoming dangerously dehydrated, as alcohol causes dehydration and caffeine is a diuretic – a.k.a. a dehydration-causing factory.

Still considering chasing a few beers with an energy drink? Remember this: those who drink AMED cocktails are more likely to attempt to take advantage of someone else or be taken advantage of in a sexual manner.

A New Confusing Danger

As if there aren’t enough problems keeping kids away from alcoholic beverages, some companies have made it even more difficult with new marketing techniques. With the energy drink market firmly established, some alcohol companies are marketing their drinks in packaging that is ridiculously close to that used by energy drink products.

The potential result? Underage children buying alcoholic beverages on purpose or on accident, without anyone being alarmed. In order to prevent this from happening on a large scale, businesses that sell both types of drinks will require extensive and ongoing education on all products available to ensure underage juveniles don’t purchase the wrong drink. Parents should also be aware of the differences and be on the lookout for premixed alcohol-energy drink cocktails.

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