June 1st, 2016

Living on F-Factor: Drinking and Dieting

You asked, we listened. Follower question of the week.

three glasses of various drinks on a white background

Q: I heard you can drink on this diet, tell me more….

A: Some of the most frequent questions we receive have to do with alcohol and weight loss. Well, raise your glass, because on the F-Factor Diet you can drink alcohol (if you’re over 21) and still lose weight (disclaimer #1: as a company we are not saying you should drink, or drink in excess, but you can, if you are of age). Alcohol is NOT the reason Americans are overweight, and totally abstaining from imbibing in order to lose weight is just not necessary. We break it down for you and attempt to answer all your alcohol and weight loss related questions for you here. 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: As a company, we do not encourage our clients or followers of the F-Factor Diet to start drinking alcohol if they do not do so already. However, if they do already drink alcohol, we educate them on healthier options for drinking in moderation.

LET’S BEGIN

Many diet and weight-loss programs restrict, limit and/ or caution about alcohol consumption, stating that wine, beer, and spirits lead to weight gain by increasing the appetite while lowering inhibitions, a deadly combination that leads to overeating and poor food choices. However, research increasingly suggests that moderate consumption does not represent a dietary risk factor for developing obesity. In a 2004 study conducted at the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, researchers reported that one drink a day did not contribute to weight gain, particularly in women.

SO, ALCOHOL = WEIGHT LOSS?!

No, no, not quite. It is not so black and white. Alcohol does contribute calories, so in theory, cutting it out actually would make for weight loss, the same way cutting anything out of your diet would. In order to produce weight loss, you must create a caloric deficit. This can be done one of two ways: increase caloric expenditure (exercise more, burn more), or decrease caloric intake, which is the variable we’re talking about here. The problem with cutting out alcohol, or any one specific food/ drink that is prevalent in one’s life, is it often leads to feelings of deprivation and denial–and those feelings are not consistent with sustained weight management.

F-Factor is not a fad diet. Rather, it’s a sustainable approach to weight loss and management, designed to fit into YOUR lifestyle. If you don’t feel deprived then there’s no reason to depart from what you are doing AKA you can stick to your diet and reap ongoing, lasting results.

Without including some alcohol into your diet from the outset, you make it much more difficult to continue with your normal social life, go out after work with friends or even just socialize on a Saturday evening.  And, perhaps even more importantly, you may go over-board as soon as you’re “off diet,” and do more damage than you would have had you been able to drink throughout. Yes, feeling deprived can set you back far more than a glass of wine ever could!

Here at F-Factor we encourage our clients to make realistic changes to their diets, changes that they can sustain over time so that they do not regain all of the weight they lost. If you are used to drinking in moderation and that is part of your normal social activity, cutting that out can be quite difficult, and definitely not sustainable for the long run.

SO WHY ON F-FACTOR CAN I DRINK WITHOUT GAINING WEIGHT?

To put it simply, following the F-Factor Way of eating, there is room in the diet for certain alcoholic drinks. This is because (1) alcohol is not that caloric and (2) F-Factor is just that great of a plan. A 5 oz glass of wine is between 90 and 120 calories, with 2-4g net carbs. A 6 oz glass (if you have a heavier pour) can be between 120 and 200 calories, depending on the type. A shot of vodka or tequila, or spirits on the rocks, all less than 100 calories with no carbs. And although calorie-counting is not intrinsic of F-Factor, there is an inherent calorie-cap, and that calorie cap is low enough that a 1-2 drinks won’t put you overboard.

The bottom line is that a calorie is a calorie, and a 100-calorie alcoholic beverage constitutes only a small portion of the total amount of calories you consume. However, what you need to keep in mind is that these are “empty calories” as alcohol has no nutritional value. Thus, it is important to limit yourself to one serving per day for women and two for men—the current health guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture—so that you avoid filling up on alcohol at the expense of nutritious foods and beverages.

ANY RECS? WHAT SHOULD I DRINK?

When starting out on F-Factor, we recommend to still go easy at the bar and order a less-caloric version of their usual drink. Order a vodka with 0-calorie club soda instead of a 90-calorie vodka tonic, for example. Avoid the highest calorie cocktails such as, margaritas and piña coladas, and the less obvious ones, like Moscow Mules and Old Fashions, as they are full of sugar (BTW most of the time the mixers bartenders are using are VERY caloric to mask the taste of the alcohol, they want you to drink more after all…). Also, alternate alcoholic drinks with water in order to stay hydrated (and that helps you feel less hungry, and avoid DRUNCHING and the dreaded hangover as well).

IN SUMMATION

(AKA disclaimer #3): We are NOT encouraging anyone to start drinking, or drink in excess. Drinking IN MODERATION is allowed on F-Factor. This way feelings of deprivation are minimized and lasting and sustainable weight loss can be achieved in a realistic setting. There are many benefits that outweigh the potential risk of drinking a moderate amount of alcohol at the appropriate age. Research has shown that there are health benefits to moderate alcohol consumption for an average individual such as reducing risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Unlike other diets that ask you to starve and cut out entire food groups, the F-Factor Diet is a nutritionally sound approach to eating for life that gives you more choices, not fewer. That is why we don’t ban alcohol and you will be able to maintain your normal lifestyle. Whether you enjoy waffles, red meat, cheese or alcohol, all of these fit into a balanced diet.

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