Believe it or not, there is a right way to enjoy a few beers without completely sabotaging your clean diet efforts. If you have enjoyed a cold one or two after a long week at work, you know too well that it can leave you feeling lethargic, dehydrated and not quite yourself the next day, especially if your diet is otherwise pretty clean.
When you consume an alcoholic drink the ethanol in the drink travels down to your gut where close to 25% of it is taken up by your bloodstream right away. The remainder sits in your small intestine until it is also absorbed into the bloodstream. Once the alcohol is in your blood, it travels down to the liver where it is broken down.
Although there are a number of different factors, such as amount of body fat and gender, that impact the timing of metabolism, a regular size beer may be metabolized about every 90 minutes by an average size man. If you are drinking more than one beer every hour and a half, the alcohol saturates the blood until there is no room in the liver to process it.
Alcohol consumed in moderation may be just the thing you need to relax. However, you have to be aware of the downside of over consumption and make informed decisions about how much and how quickly you drink.
Too much alcohol, which is void of any nutrients, can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels and increased fat storage not to mention impaired judgement. That is pretty well a given, we all have seen a ‘beer belly’ and know about the ‘beer goggles’ effect? They are real.
In addition, alcohol has a dehydrating impact on the body which can really cause problems if not kept in check. The more you drink, the more you have to use the bathroom, which can quickly lead to dehydration as you urinate more fluid than you are taking in.
The One Beer One Water Rule
To keep yourself from becoming severely dehydrated and to slow the rate at which alcohol enters your bloodstream, try to drink one or two 8 oz glasses of water after each beer. Not only will this help your body stay hydrated but it will also give your liver a break and allow it to remove the toxins from your body at a healthy rate. Don’t cheat and chug the water or the beer if you can help it.
Sip the water slowly and remember that your body will thank you in the morning. Overall, if you try to stick to the one glass of water one beer rule, you should consume less beer, save money and avoid sabotaging your clean eating lifestyle.
Other “Healthy” Drinking Tips
- Don’t mix and match your drinks – stick with one thing
- Stop drinking at least an hour before you go to bed
- Snack on healthy foods, not chips and dip, while you are drinking
- Choose light beer
- Eat a healthy and balanced dinner before consuming any alcohol
- Eat a banana as soon as you get up the morning after you have had a few drinks
- Get moving right away the next morning – you want to get the blood flowing
- If you need to travel, plan on a ride home rather than driving home yourself.
- Remember, just because you drink water with your beer or wine, you still need to keep moderation in mind.