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The Real Cause of Holiday Weight Gain

Every year, after the holidays, I see patients who’ve put on a few pounds. “I can’t help it,” they say, “I just can’t resist those holiday treats.”

But holiday cookies may have less to do with your expanding waistline than you think. There’s a far more sinister culprit. It sneaks up on you fast, because it actually packs on the pounds three ways.

In the next couple of minutes, I’ll show you what it is, why it’s so dangerous… and how to keep it from starting your new year off with guilt and regret.

Why Cookies Aren’t So Bad

Almost everyone “cheats” over the holidays. A couple of cookies here, a brownie there. It adds up.

But for most people, it doesn’t add up to as much as you’d think. That’s because we have a built in “compensator.” Here’s what happens:

Let’s say you eat a few extra calories at the office holiday party. When you get home, you’ll tend to eat a few calories less at supper. In fact, researchers at Purdue University discovered that the trade-off in calories is a remarkable balance. Subjects in their study compensated to within 1% of the extra calories eaten!1

In other words, if you eat a couple of cookies at the holiday party, you’ll probably go easy on the potatoes at supper.

But the Purdue scientists also discovered one exception to this rule. And that’s where we get into trouble.

How “One Little Drink” Can Hurt You

You’ve probably heard the myth before. It’s even been featured on billboards. “There are no calories in vodka.”

Well, that’s dead wrong. Like any other alcoholic drink, vodka contains plenty of calories. 64 per ounce of 80-proof vodka, in fact. But vodka’s damage is nothing compared to the calories in mixed drinks:

  • An 8-oz margarita has about 280 calories.
  • A Pina colada packs 378 calories into 6 oz.
  • Just 5 oz of White Russian will set you back 425 calories.
  • And an 8 oz Long Island ice tea delivers a whopping 780 calories.

Of course, wine and beer aren’t innocent, either. Five ounces of wine contains about 120 calories, and a typical 12-oz beer has 150 – 200.

But here’s the first thing that makes these calories so dangerous:

Remember I mentioned an exception to the “calorie compensation rule”? It’s liquid calories. People simply don’t cut back later if they drink extra calories. So those calories really do become “extra.”

Just two Long Island ice teas per week translates to 7,800 extra calories between Thanksgiving and the New Year. When you include the eggnog, cappuccinos and extra soft drinks at parties, you can see how quickly it adds up.

But it gets even worse, because alcohol has a dirty secret.

Keep the Fat-Building Machine at Bay

When Swiss researchers reviewed a collection of studies on alcohol and weight gain, their conclusion was disturbing. They found that alcohol actually blocks your body’s ability to burn fat! And they also discovered that your body tends to deposit this fat around your midsection.2

In other words, alcohol doesn’t just help you pack on pounds. It also encourages your body to store those pounds in the worst possible place. No wonder so many people seem to gain a few extra pounds during the holidays!

But you don’t have to. Here are some easy tips to help you avoid those extra holiday pounds:

  • Use low-calorie or no-calorie mixers. Try club soda or sparkling water as a mixer instead of soft drinks.
  • Make every other drink non-alcoholic. Club soda over ice with a twist of lime is tasty, refreshing and virtually calorie-free.
  • Set a limit before you start. You’re more likely to have fewer drinks if you’ve decided on a limit beforehand.
  • Try wine spritzers. The soda water doesn’t add any calories, but it makes your drink last longer.

With these simple strategies, you can still enjoy the holidays – but avoid the annual “stealth” weight gain.

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals


1 DiMeglio DP and Mattes RD. Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Jun;24(6):794-800.
2 Suter PM and Tremblay A. Is Alcohol Consumption A Risk Factor For Weight Gain And Obesity? Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences. 2005, Vol. 42, No. 3, Pages 197-227.

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