Have 1 Drink!

Posted: Dec 16 in Favorites by

have-1-drinkThe holidays have arrived. Time to have a drink.

Really? Is the doctor really recommending alcohol?

We all know the dangers of too much alcohol – driving accidents, cancer, elevated blood pressure and heart disease to name a few. But did you know that small amounts of alcohol might actually be good for you?

Evidence shows that small amounts of alcohol can reduce stroke and heart attack risk.

Further, Mediterranean style diets (including small amounts of alcohol) have been studied and shown to be effective not only in reducing heart disease risk, but also in controlling diabetes and controlling weight.

This advice is not for everybody. I certainly do not condone drinking if you are planning to drive, if you are under-age, if you have medical problems (or medications) making alcohol a bad idea, if you avoid alcohol for religious or spiritual reasons, or especially if you are an alcoholic.

In addition to being tempted by alcohol during the holidays, you will be tempted by food. While sometimes complete abstinence is the best course of action, sometimes it is not. Similar to alcohol, we all know that over-consumption of high carbohydrate high fat treats can cause health problems (including regaining the weight we worked so hard to lose). But complete abstinence can cause problems too. All too often we end up feeling deprived and end up over-eating something else as a compensatory behavior.

Instead of striving for perfection maybe this is the season to strive for reasonable.

Instead of no alcohol at all, how about one glass of champagne?

Instead of no dessert at all, how about two bites? We all know that the first two bites taste the best anyway.

Again, I don’t recommend two bites for everybody. People that should be avoiding these foods for serious health reasons, people trying to stay on a ketogenic diet and people with diabetes to name a few. Also, if you have food addiction, similar to alcoholism, sometimes complete abstinence is necessary or, you can consider enrolling in our new food addiction class series.

Also, pick your starch! What do you like best? Mashed potatoes with gravy? Stuffing? Apple pie? You will be tempted by everything, but if you have a plan in advance, instead of eating everything, why not have a reasonable serving of the food that is your favorite. I am writing this article the week after Thanksgiving and am pleased to report that most of the patients I saw this week weighed less the week after the holiday than they did before. They report having enjoyed the holiday in moderation and are planning more of the same for Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s. And, they report not feeling deprived.

So, enjoy your holidays – in moderation.

“Let them eat cake!” (but just 2 bites)

Happy holidays!

-Dr. Lazarus

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