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The Cost of Drinking: 10 Extra Pounds of Fat a Year?

If you’re trying to shed some fat, the calories in alcohol can add up big-time. Here, the surprising truth.

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While you're giving the dessert table the evil eye this holiday season, that drink in your hand could be packing on the pounds. According to data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult consumes 100 calories a day in beer, wine or liquor, which can fill your stockings (and your jeans) with some significant chub during December—and beyond.

To see who’s likely to put on extra weight this year, here’s the run-down from the CDC on alcohol consumption in the U.S.:

  • One-third of men drink some alcohol each day
  • Men get an average of 150 calories per day from alcohol
  • Guys aged 20 to 39 years drink an average of 174 calories per day of alcohol
  • Almost 20 percent of men drink more than 300 calories per day of alcohol

For many men, those empty alcohol calories are in excess of their normal  needs, which can add up to weight gain. (Experts say a surplus of 100 calories a day might translate into about 10 pounds per year.) So to fight off the extra fat—all year long—here are a few tips to help you drink less:

  • Know your (calorie) limits. Most guidelines recommend no more than two alcoholic drinks a day for men, but keep in mind that a can of beer has 150 calories.
  • Count your drinks. Add up your drinks each week. If you blow your goal, cut back the next week or add extra runs to your workouts to compensate.
  • Try a low-calorie drink. Enjoy a light beer or half a shot of bourbon over ice, and beware of mixed drinks, which are likely to have added sugar.
  • Take your drinking off auto-pilot. Be aware. Whether you're watching the big game at the bar or from the comfort of you couch, distractions can cause you to reach mindlessly for another drink. And another. 

 

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