Does alcohol help with weight loss? Here’s how drinking can actually help people lose weight

Does alcohol help with weight loss? Here’s how drinking can actually help people lose weight

SYDNEY — The drink could actually help people shed extra pounds — as long as they eat nuts and other healthy snacks, according to new research. High-protein foods soak up alcohol without leading to pot bellies and love, scientists say.

Other foods that pair well with alcohol include olives, popcorn, cocktail onions, deli meats, cheeses, raw vegetables, sauces, and dried or fresh fruit. A study by the University of Sydney found that those who opted for them consumed fewer calories overall than people who abstained from drinking altogether. However, choosing processed snacks like chips, pigs in blankets, cookies or other fatty products increases the number.

Alcohol encourages “chewing”, but not necessarily cause weight gain. It has been called the “aperitif effect”. The findings are based on 9,341 Australians. Participants were drawn from the Australian National Diet and Physical Activity Survey, the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind. As expected, those who drank alcohol consumed more salty foods.

“This was associated with reduced energy intake in some, but increased energy intake in others,” said senior author David Raubenheimer, professor of nutritional ecology at the University of Sydney, in a statement to SWNS.

Do people consume fewer calories when they drink alcohol?

About two thirds of the participants chose food rich in protein, but low in carbohydrates and fats, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, seafood, nuts and legumes. The analysis showed that they consumed an average of 1,749 calories per day, including those from alcohol. This was 577 less than they needed to maintain their current weight, and 451 less than the 2,200 gained by non-drinkers.

Another third picked potato chips, pigs in blankets, deli meats, garlic bread, spring rolls, and potato wedges, which taste “umami” without protein. They consumed an average of 3,051 calories – 813 more than their EER (estimated energy requirements). It increases over time risk of obesity.

“Alcohol is known to increase appetite in particular for salty food, a phenomenon known as the ‘aperitivo effect’, says lead author Dr Amanda Grech, a postdoctoral researcher in Sydney. “Recent research has shown that levels of FGF-21 – a hormone that increases appetite for protein and suppresses appetite for sweets – increase after alcohol consumption. Protein is also known to have a satiating effect. “We wanted to find out if people choose more salty, protein-rich foods when they drink alcohol and, if they do, whether the satiating effect of the extra protein in their diet leads them to consume fewer calories overall, despite the extra energy from the alcohol itself.”

‘Geometry of Nutrition’

Alcohol is energy dense. But the evidence that it contributes to weight gain is inconclusive. The latest study is the first to take into account other components of the diet.

Professor Raubenheimer and colleagues used a technique he invented called “nutritional geometry”. It deploys the multidimensionality of nutrition—allowing the simultaneous observation of multiple components.

The data included the food and drink each individual consumed in a 24-hour period and the total amount of energy it contained. It also contained information about how much protein, fat, carbohydrates and other nutrients it contained. Four out of ten (40%) volunteers consumed alcohol.

The researchers said the results show that despite the high sugar content, drinking does not necessarily lead to weight gain. But in the current environment, low-protein, high-fat snacks are plentiful and cheap. So alcohol can really contribute obesity epidemic.

“When you consume alcohol and your appetite is increased, make sure you choose healthier lean sources of protein such as lean red meat, chicken, fish, seafood or legumes, and avoid the urge to snack on salty, low-protein snacks,” adds Grech. “This will ensure that your appetite for protein is satisfied without excessive energy expenditure, which will lead to weight gain. Above all, be sure to follow the guidelines for alcohol intake, which poses health risks in addition to weight gain and obesity.”

Researchers suggest those who want to eat healthy while consuming an alcoholic snack before, rather than instead of, a meal. Suitable snacks include a portion of cheese (40g), unsalted nuts, chickpeas and vegetable sticks with tzatziki or hummus made from fresh ingredients.

The findings were presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Melbourne, Australia.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

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