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How To Support Better Sleep Naturally

6 fantastically natural supplements for supporting better sleep. Don't miss these ideas!

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Lost Sleep Linked To Weight Gain

It has been known for quite some time that a lack of sleep effects your health in general and can also cause weight gain. But it was never known how much sleep someone would need to be deprived of for it to affect health.

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Strategies for Drinking Alcohol While Losing Weight

When I have conversations about weight loss with women at any age—30’s, 40’s and 50’s, the topic of alcohol frequently comes up.

One thing I like to tell women is that alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. The digestive process changes when alcohol is present because alcohol gets immediate attention. It's viewed by the body as a toxin and doesn’t need to be digested.

When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat so those calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage in your body.

Low doses of alcohol appear to reduce the risk of heart attacks and certain strokes. Larger amounts increase the risk of many health problems such as liver disease, high blood pressure, behavioral problems, and premature death. But women face an extra risk: Even low doses of alcohol can raise their risk of breast cancer.

Don’t Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts

Strategies for including alcohol without sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

Quantity is Make or Break

Probably the most important consideration is quantity. One glass of many types of alcoholic beverages is usually ok. It's the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th glass that takes total calories out of the weight loss range, and more likely into the weight maintenance or even weight gain range.

Lower Calorie Options

Lower calorie alcohol choices include wine and hard liquor. Wine contains 20 calories per ounce, so there are 100 calories per 5 ounce glass. This is reasonable for a weight loss diet. Just stick with only one glass and 5 ounces or less. The number of calories in hard liquor depend on the proof, so 100 proof liquor contains 125 calories, and 80 proof liquor contains 100 calories. If drinking beer, try a lower calorie, light alternative.

Mixers Beware

Added mixers, syrups, soda pop, and tonic are the culprits that really boost the calories. Try soda water, diet soda, or a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime.

Opt Out on Mixer

Skip the mixer altogether. Try ordering your favorite spirit or one of the new flavored liquors on the rocks. Infused vodkas are very popular because they're not sweetened rather infused with flavors, from jalapeno to peach, which doesn’t add any extra calories.

Pass on Liqueurs

Limit high-calorie liqueurs. These are extremely deceptive (they taste so good) and will add enormously to overall calorie content.

Inhibitions Drop

Keep healthy food on hand when drinking. Drinking will relax the inhibitions and cause one to compromise their nutritional habits.

Include Water To Slow the Pace

Drink water between alcoholic drinks. This will help to slow the pace of quantity consumed and also increase feelings of fullness and may help to prevent over consumption of alcohol. Water will also keep your hydrated.

What strategies do you when you want to imbibe while losing weight?

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods



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How Alcohol Affects Exercise

When I worked as the sports nutritionist for a Division 1 University, many of the athletes were curious how drinking alcohol the night before a game or practice effected their performance.

Here’s what I told them…alcohol use increases dehydration, gets in the way of muscle recovery, and increases your risk of injury. It can also lead to muscle cramps.

Few athletes realize consuming alcohol after a workout, practice, or competition can cancel out any physiological gains you may have received from such activities. Long-term use reduces protein synthesis, which makes it very difficult to repair and build muscle. But even short-term alcohol use can hinder muscle growth.

Alcohol use requires increased conditioning to maintain weight.

Alcohol holds very little nutritional value to the athlete. The relatively high calories in alcohol are not available to our muscles. Alcohol calories are not converted to glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrates, and thus are not a good source of energy during exercise. Each drink contains approximately 100-150 empty calories. The body treats alcohol as fat, converting alcohol sugars into fatty acids.

Alcohol causes dehydration and slows down the body’s ability to heal.

Speeding the recovery of sore muscles and injuries is integral to optimal performance. Alcohol is a toxin which travels through your bloodstream to every organ and tissue in your body, causing dehydration and slowing your body’s ability to heal itself.

Alcohol use prevents muscle recovery.

In order to build bigger and stronger muscles, your body needs sleep to repair itself after a workout. Because of alcohol's effect on sleep, however, your body is robbed of a precious chemical called "human growth hormone" or HGH. HGH is part of the normal muscle-building and repair process and the body's way of telling itself your muscle needs to grow bigger and stronger. Alcohol, however, can decrease the secretion of HGH by as much as 70%! Also, when alcohol is in your body, it triggers the production of a substance in your liver that is directly toxic to testosterone. Testosterone is essential for the development and recovery of your muscles.

Alcohol use depletes your source of energy.

Once alcohol is absorbed through your stomach and small intestine and finally into your cells, it can disrupt the water balance in muscle cells, thus altering their ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is your muscles' source of energy. ATP provides the furl necessary for your muscles to contract.

Alcohol also reduces energy sources by inhibiting a process known as gluconeogenesis in which glucose is formed from substances other than glucose. When alcohol is oxidized by alcohol dehydrogenase (an enzyme), it produces an elevation of NADH, which ultimately reduces the amount of a coenzyme that is essential in the production of ATP. This loss of ATP results in a lack of energy and loss of endurance.

Drink Responsibly.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

Article courtesy of: Firth, G. How Alcohol Affects Nutrition and Endurance.  UC San Diego.

Other references: Vella, LD, Cameron-Smith, D. Alcohol, Athletic Performance and Recovery. Nutrients. 2010 August; 2(8): 781-789. 


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