How to Avoid Happy-Hour Weight Gain

   Most of us share a love-hate relationship with the 'happy hour'. While it saves us money, it ruins a whole day of eating right with crazy-high calories and weakened willpower. But let's face the truth. Binge drinking isn't the only culprit. What is often ignored is the quantity of accompaniments like fried peanuts, cashews, cheese cubes and potato chips - we devour along with alcohol.

happy hour

   "Alcohol can take away the inhibitions and make the part of the brain, called prefrontal cortex, fuzzy. Thus, the choice of food and quantity we consume, all go for a toss. Moreover, it can screw up the drinker's perception of hunger and satiety. Food overload coupled with uncompensated calories of alcohol, burdens our body with loads of calories," says weight management experts. Besides, in men, alcohol also causes cortisol (stress-inducing hormone) to shoot up and testosterone to decline. The combination of all this makes the drinker fat.

  • One bottle of light beer                        110 calories
  • 50 ml of Gin                                          121 calories
  • 50 ml of Vodka                                     120 calories
  • Wine bottle (750 ml)                             700 calories
  • 175 ml of Champagne                          133 calories
  • One shot of hard alcohol                        78 calories
  • One serving of Martini                          140 calories
  • One serving of Cosmopolitan               200 calories
  • One serving of Daiquiri                         122 calories
  • A pint of sweet Cider                             220 calories

Have you ever wondered why your friend doesn't gain a kilo in spite of drinking often while you expand just watching that glass filled with beer? "The differentiator for weight gains while eating the same amount of food is what we call 'Basic Metabolic Rate' or BMR. A particular food or activity may result in weight/calorie gain or loss for one person and not necessarily for another. For example, a person with a high metabolism rate might burn 100 calories in an hour by exercising while a person with a low metabolism rate may burn only about 15 calories in the same time span doing the same," says dietician Dr Richa Anand.

A standard glass of wine has as many calories as a slice of cake or pizza. A pint of beer could be substituted for a large doughnut!

Avoid happy hour

  • Keep in mind the words 'portion control'.
    Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and around two drinks per day for men. To stick to these guidelines, learn to take small sips and not gulp it all down. The slower you drink, the lesser empty calories you'll consume throughout those happy hours.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
    Eat before you go. To avoid indulging in either too much alcohol or too much junk food, eat something that's high on proteins and carbohydrates like low-fat yogurt and fruits. You can also opt for a sandwich, raw salad or kebabs with garlic sauce.
  • Avoid ordering food after you start drinking.
    Since booze lowers your inhibitions, ordering snacks before you start binge drinking will help you make healthier choices. Stay away from fried appetisers and go for grilled items.
  • Don't opt for sweeter drinks.
    Cocktails with a fruity or sugary base (like Cosmopolitan or Daiquiri) are so smooth on the palate that you don't realise when you've gone overboard. Instead, opt for stronger spirits like tequila and whiskey that have a more intense flavour, so you're less likely to drink more.

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