What about the hidden calories, are you counting them too?
What hidden calories?
If this is the question you are asking you need to pay more attention to the drinks you consume – the accent here is on drinks, alcohol to be precise.
We are aware of the short and long term risks drinking poses to our health. On the other hand, we know, and studies confirm, that moderate alcohol consumption has significant health benefits, mostly for the heart.
We are aware that a glass of wine a day help maintains our optimum health. Red wine contains polyphenols, which are found in the skins of the grapes, which offer many health benefits. But one glass can quickly turn to two, three, four… and counting. And what once was a remedy can become a threat, for our health in general. And this is also a threat to you if you are trying to lose weight.
Do you know how many calories a glass of wine has? Or a glass of bear?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, if you drink a 12-ounce glass of beer, there are about 150 calories for you. If you prefer wine, a 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories.
What can you do?
Every time you order a drink, think about moderate consumption. Not only because of the calories but because of the health risks. The “healthy” amount of alcohol is often lower than you think.
Are you sleeping less? You are probably eating more
The science behind the connection between the sleep deprivation and weight gain is simple: if you sleep less, you will eat more. And not only eat more, but crave food, eat at night, snack often, and have bad food choice.
Many people are sleep deprived without even realizing the consequences it has for their health and nutrition, and life in general. What happens when you sleep less?
Sleep deprivation equals increased appetite
One study showed that people with sleep deprivation (less than seven hours a day) ate an average of 549 extra calories each day. It means that they could gain a pound a week if they didn’t break the habit. The conclusion from the scientists was that lack of sleep impacts leptin, the hormone that signals the feeling of fullness and leads to the overproduction of the hormone ghrelin that increases your appetite signaling the sense of hunger. Also, the more ghrelin you produce, the fewer calories you will burn as the hormone impacts your metabolism, increasing the fat in your body.
Sleep deprivation results in excessive snacking
When you sleep less, you also exercise less. All you are thinking about is how to have a good night sleep, and your body is feeling the same. The problem is that a decrease in physical activity results in an increase in excessive snacking.
Less than eight hours of sleep does not only make you crave unhealthy food (read: high-carbohydrate, and high-fat food) but also impacts your rational judgment on the consequences of such food. And it only takes a single night of poor sleep to increase cravings.
Overeating caused by the lack of sleep also deprives the body of the essential nutrients. One study showed that people who sleep less consume half the fruits and vegetable servings they need, which results in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Scientists at the University of Chicago analyzed what happens to our fat cells after just four days of poor sleep. “Metabolic grogginess,” that’s what your body suffers from. The result? The body’s ability to use insulin is disrupted leading to storing up fat in the liver.
Less sleep increases cortisol level
Sleep deprivation impacts the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with fat gain. The result is that brain centers signal you that you need more food, even if you don’t. For the worse, stress also affects the ghrelin hormone. When both hormones are in disbalance, you cannot decide whether you need more food or not. You feel hungry all the time because the areas of the brain which are supposed to tell you that you are satisfied, don’t work.
Less sleep determines when you eat
As natural sleep patterns are out of balance, people who sleep less tend to experience a delay in their meals. When the balance is interrupted, the dinner is usually after 8 p.m., which means that the eating habits additionally impact the sleep patterns. The result is that the more you eat at night, your organism needs more time to digest the food, preventing the body to rest during the evening, before you go to bed. And it’s not just the body. The mind cannot rest, and you usually wake up with the feeling of hunger the next day. “Late sleepers” are caught in a vicious circle of dieting and poor nutrition.
Sleep has a vital role for a healthy nutrition. The benefits of a good sleep go beyond just making you feel better. As you can see, it significantly impacts your nutrition, food choice, eating habits. If you lack sleep, it’s time you change this bad habit.
Now, let’s ask the question again: can you be the reason behind your diet and nutrition fails?
It might be hard for you to admit that culprit is, in fact, you, but is having a balanced diet the goal you are trying to accomplish? Is losing weight your goal?
If the answers are positive, then it’s time you face yourself. Bad habits are hard to break, but not impossible. Be honest and learn what lies behind your problems with weight loss and balanced nutrition.
Were you sabotaging your diet? Share your experience with us in comments.