A seemingly unsolvable puzzle during the holidays is to crack the code for the right amount of alcohol to consume. And by right crowd, drinking fans and aficionados, we mean it healthy amount.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adult men drink two drinks or less a day and adult women one drink or less. But come on, the holiday deserves to put a few (or more) back with turkey carving, football watching or the family game Charades.
It can be hard to give up beer, wine or a cocktail for the sake of health, especially around the holidays that make it a main goal to drink (ahem, New Year’s Eve). Nevertheless, there are healthy ways to drink while still enjoying yourself. Here’s a guide to maintaining the right balance.
When does drinking become overeating?
Excessive drinking is defined as having five drinks for men and four drinks for women in a 2-hour time frame. During the holiday season, binge drinking can happen unintentionally due to the inherent social pressure. This is why experts say it can be important to keep the distance between alcoholic beverages throughout the day.
Brian Dugan, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Chicago, said it is important to pay attention to balance and moderation.
“During the holidays, dealing with alcohol can be quite challenging,” Dugan said. “In fact, all forms of drinking can be unhealthy. It is best practice to be mindful of spreading beverages throughout the day and sipping to be social in terms of drinking really fast. Staying hydrated is also really important, even while drinking alcohol. ”
Overdrinking can not only lead to bad hangovers, but it can also lead to problems the next day, such as vomiting and alcohol poisoning. It is not to mention the obvious liver problems. Dugan noted that the types of foods people eat while consuming alcohol for a holiday party play a significant role in offsetting the fact that they drink too much. This means that all green (ahem green beans) in addition to the endless carbohydrates and turkey is a must.
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“Getting lots of foods with fiber and vegetables means something,” Dugan said. “Too much of just alcohol can act as a poison in our bodies because of its effect on metabolism. Getting some lean protein to fit in with the carbs from mac and cheese and fillings can make a difference.”
Ijeoma Opara, an assistant professor of social and behavioral science at the Yale School of Public Health, said social pressure can often be mixed with brain chemistry for a perfect storm of overeating around holidays.
“Alcohol is a depressant and people will often use alcohol to cope with certain things without knowing it,” Opara said. “Because you can easily convince yourself that it’s a day to drink a lot, and then it’s one or two weeks of the same thing. Being aware of drinking habits is important and just being aware of how much you choose to drinking.
“It’s important not to feel pressured to drink because other people are. And adults need to be aware of how much they drink around children. Children are watching. They may not say anything, but everyone remembers a drunk uncle, falling to the ground. ”
How has the pandemic shaped holiday drinking?
It is fair to say that quarantine played a major role in an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic. A October study revealed a positive correlation between the increase in the number of people on a waiting list for a liver and the increase in retail sales of alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic timeframe.
The study is in line with previous pandemic research, including a study that reported that nearly 1 in 5 Americans turned to “heavy drinking” to cope as late as April.
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But as worries about COVID-19 diminish, we dare to worry that there is a citizen hangovers from the framed nature of quarantine – which means that the euphoria at a first big Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering for two years can lead to more alcohol consumption.
“We certainly saw an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic because liquor stores were considered essential and people felt extremely anxious about everything,” said Opara, who conducted an investigation into alcohol abuse by New Yorkers during the lockdown. “So you’re considering it all, and now you could get people bombarded with interaction by seeing family or being around everyone for the first time in months or years. It’s exciting, but it does not change (the narrative) about drinking safely. . ”
Does it matter what type of drink you choose?
If you need to have a drink, dietitians recommend reaching out for clear spirits like vodka and gin, as these tend to have lower calorie content.
Alcoholic beverages that have higher sugar content can greatly affect weight loss attempts and muscle gain.
Dugan said of all drinks that wine offers healthy cardiovascular benefits in variety and can be a great complement to a Thanksgiving spread, but noted that while every alcoholic beverage has its pros and cons compared to others, it is important to be more aware about the big one. picture.
“I always like to ask people, ‘what are you trying to achieve?’ Because if you need more low-calorie beers, you might as well drink IPA that would be equivalent to the same, “he said. “Drink what you prefer and be conscious to make it a proactive effort. We want it to be healthy but also sustainable for the soul.”
What is the portion size and calorie count per. alcoholic beverage?
The National Institutes of Health defines a serving size as 12 fluid oz. beer, 5 fluid oz. wine and a shot of distilled spirits like 1.5 fluid oz.
Check how many calories are in your chosen beverage type below, calculated according to NIH’s serving size standard.
- Light beer: 103 calories
- Red wine: 125 calories
- Margarita: 168 calories
- Martini: 124 calories
- Tequila: 97 calories
- Brandy: 98 calories
Are you worried that your alcohol intake may be too much? The NIH provides guidance on the risks of alcohol use and how to reduce your risk.
Cast: Rasha Ali