Can I Drink Alcohol and Stay Fit?

by Scott Herman

Can I Drink Alcohol and Stay Fit?

You’ve started the Better Beach Body program on (Congrats!), and you’re wondering whether alcohol is off limits. Here are some facts to consider:

What does alcohol do to my body?

Alcohol can have a place in a healthy diet, but overdoing it can lead to a variety of health issues. Studies show that drinking too much alcohol can contribute to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and liver damage. 

How long does it take for my body to rid itself of alcohol?

It takes about one hour for your body to get rid of 1 alcoholic drink, which is equivalent to 5-fluid ounces of wine, 12-fluid ounces of beer, and 1.5-fluid ounces of an 80-proof liquor (like vodka or rum). 

What should I do if I want to party?

The best thing to do is limit the amount you drink. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women should consume no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day and men 2 alcoholic drinks per day. In addition, when you drink too much you lose your sense of control – this can lead to overeating. 

I heard that red wine is healthy for me – is this true?

Researchers have found that red wine contains a lot of antioxidants especially reservatrol, shown to help lower your risk of heart disease, and helps prevent additional heart attacks if you’ve already had one. However, studies have also found that you need a lot of red wine (around 4 drinks) to reap the full benefits which is not considered a moderate amount. So keep in mind, red wine is a healthier choice in moderation, but you can achieve the same things with a healthy diet and exercise. 

So what’s the bottom line?

Alcohol isn’t an essential part of a well-balanced diet. Drinking too much alcohol however, does lead to a variety of health problems and can hinder a healthy eating plan.  If you chose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation: one drink per day for a woman and two drinks daily for a man.  

Scott Herman is the owner and operator of the online fitness community Scott Herman Fitness, LLC. You can follow him on Twitter at @Scott_Herman.