It’s hard to find a moment more refreshing than sitting on a beach with friends and cracking open a cold beer straight from the cooler. But while this drink is delicious, many beer lovers are always wondering if they can still enjoy their favorite drink and still follow their health plans or meet their weight loss goals.
The good news is that there are ways to still enjoy a beer from time to time while you’re also trying to lose weight. It’s just important to develop healthy habits around drinking beer so you can do so with confidence.
Here are some of the worst beer-drinking habits you can avoid if you’re trying to lose weight. Read on, and for more, don’t miss the Surprising Side Effects of Drinking a Beer Every Night.
Sometimes it’s not just about the beer you’re drinking, but what you’re consuming along with it!
“One thing about beer is that the more you drink it, the less you care about what you eat! Before long you have taken in calories from beer, chips, queso, wings, and who knows what else! Beer alone provides calories that can derail weight loss, but additional junk food calories might add insult to injury if you do this multiple times a week,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our expert medical board.
According to our dietitians, it’s never a good idea to drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
“Drinking beer without eating food first can make you feel the alcohol effects quicker, which can lower inhibitions and result in making unhealthy food choices later in the day. You are better off eating a balanced meal before or with your beer,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
While setting goals for yourself can help you achieve healthy weight loss, it’s important to set attainable goals so you’re not binging at the end of the week.
“Many people say they will ‘just’ drink on the weekends when they are attempting to lose weight, but oftentimes that leaves them going overboard once they finally reach Friday night! Too many calories at one time can be just as bad as calories spread out. If you don’t drink all week, but then take in an exuberant amount on the weekend, it too might derail your weight loss,” says Goodson.
Beer may be delicious, but many types are packed full of calories and sugar. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthier options to choose from.
“News flash that beer has calories. About 150 calories for 12 ounces of regular beer. There are lighter, lower-calorie options available, so if weight loss is what you are looking for, then a lower-calorie option might be a better choice,” says Goodson.
A shandy is essentially a beer mixed with some sort of fruit juice, usually lime, lemon, or grapefruit. This type of beer drink isn’t as popular as regular beer, but those who love them may want to limit how many they’re drinking.
“Shandies can contain added sugars, an ingredient that does not support weight management goals,” says Manaker. For more on shandies, be sure to read up on The #1 Worst Beer for Blood Sugar, Says Dietitian.