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Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but one major component that can be commonly overlooked is the diet aspect of daily life. The word diet has a negative connotation in most social circles. This does not have to be the case when starting a new diet.

One big step commonly overlooked is alcohol consumption. On average, one beer has 10 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of sugar.

Liquor is a different story. Even though vodka contains zero carbohydrates, one shot still contains 98 calories. Many liquors are mixed with sodas. Once that happens, the nutritional content changes significantly. One 20-ounce bottle of regular soda contains 70 grams of sugar, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 60 milligrams of sodium and 260 calories.

We do not advocate drinking alcohol. However, for those who choose to drink responsibly, here’s what we recommend:

• If you are going to drink while dieting, plan when you are going to drink and limit it to one day a week.

• Consider straight shots over ice, or mixing with soda or club soda. Soft drinks and fruity drinks will exceed your daily sugar intake and ruin all the hard work you put in on exercise and healthy eating during the week.

• Remember that water is your friend. If you add a little lemon or lime to your water, it will not only taste better, it will also speed up your metabolism.

• Limit your drinking to a specified number of drinks. Once you have hit your limit, drink water and communicate your fitness goals to your friends.

Personal trainers Scott and Troy Tischler own Tischler Brothers Fitness in Monroe, Wis.