Alcohol and its consumption is associated with a host of myths and assumptions that do not have credibility. A popular one is it makes you gain weight considerably. Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi took to Instagram to answer this question and suggested ways to keep the bubbly and the weight in check!

Rastogi said alcohol taken in moderation “does not lead to weight gain, hamper weight loss, or increase appetite. But, over-consumption can lead to higher appetite and less muscle buildup.’ He clarified: “Alcohol consumption causes bloating, as in gas and puffiness. Alcohol is inflammatory in large quantities and this is aggravated even more because it’s usually coupled with an increase in foods which cause gas like sugar and carbonated drinks.” Hence, the puffiness on the face, which is characteristic of alcohol consumption “is due to the fact that alcohol is diuretic, it dehydrates the body. Skin and organs try to hold on to water (hence the puffiness) when we are dehydrated.”

He quoted a study that showed alcohol consumption in moderation leads to the ‘same weight loss as another control group given the same amount of total calories’. The nutritionist agreed that over-consumption of alcohol, especially on a regular basis, can lead to higher appetite and less muscle build-up.

Rastogi shared a few general figures of alcohol intake. He suggested adjustments on the figures mentioned depending on size and parameters while implementing:

1 unit of alcohol per day for 5 days a week — with calories accounted for and ample amount of water intake on that day

*½ pint 4 per cent beer (250 ml)
*100 ml of 12 per cent wine
*25 ml of 40 per cent whiskey

While one can enjoy an occasional drink or two it’s extremely important to exercise caution. According to a study published in the journal Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, when you drink too much of alcohol, you “risk disrupting the immune pathways in the body, which then can come in the way of your body’s ability to fight off infections, and recover from injuries of the tissue”.

What are the preventative ways to combat the effects of drinking? The nutritionist answered:

*Increase water intake beyond the recommended limits on and around alcohol consumption.
*If gastric issues are common, reduce sugar and carbonated additions
*Increase duration of intake, body has a limited capacity to digest alcohol per unit time.
*Stick to 1-2 units per day for better health long term if you regularly consume alcohol.
*Research shows that having one unit even regularly (4-5 days a week) doesn’t affect your health goals.

Adequate water intake seems to be the mantra for saying goodbye to puffiness and dehydration. The nutritionist recommended having balanced food the next day. He pointed out that a “single meal doesn’t make much difference, what you have in the day matters.” It is crucial to have a balanced, meal plan throughout the day.

“If having gastric issues, start with a good amount of water intake, for food avoid foods that can aggravate gastric issues. Avoid individual triggers if any. (For few it’s milk, for some it’s fructose, for some individuals it’s vegetables such as cauliflower, for rest it’s high fibre from legumes).”

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