Alcohol: The Gateway Drug to Eating?
One of my clients recently gave up drinking for a short period of time.
He called it his gateway drug to eating. Although he drinks moderately and only a few days a week, once he had a glass or two of wine it lowered his inhibitions to stay disciplined with his diet, making weight loss challenging.
Common? More than you think…
Researchers did a study on patients who had significant weight gain during periods of drinking. The research shows that once alcohol is consumed, not only does it lower inhibitions to stop eating, but can also increase intake of fatty foods. Since appetite controls are in the hypothalamus, alcohol seems to trigger this part of the brain into action making us crave high calorie foods.
Add to that a minimum of 100-150 calories per drink, and it can compromise anyone’s weight management program if not kept under control.
Should you stop drinking? My philosophy is to spend your allotment of calories on what is most important to you. I count alcohol as a serving of carbohydrate since it is digested as sugar. If you want a glass of wine at dinner, skip the potato, bread or dessert.
Research does show that consuming as little as an extra 30-50 calories more per day can cause weight gain. Therefore, if you are trying to lose or manage your weight this is one area to monitor since any kind of beverage is just calories on top of what you are already consuming.