When it comes to drinking, Parsley Health’s doctors know that while alcohol has many negative health consequences , many of our members may still choose to drink once in a while.
“The average American adult gains one pound per year, but you stand to gain a lot more over the holidays by more than doubling your daily calories with sugary holiday drinks,” says Parsley Health physician Zandra Palma, MD .
“Even a few glasses of wine adds up, so moderate your consumption and choose low-sugar drinks and neat spirits whenever possible,” recommends Dr. Palma.
While some studies have pointed to potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, a recent analysis in the journal The Lancet concluded that no amount of alcohol is good for your health and alcohol consumption was the top risk factor for disease and premature death for people ages 15 to 49 worldwide in 2016.
Aside from the long term health effects, there’s the short term: 76 percent of adults report a hangover after a drinking session.
Our doctor’s orders for healthier drinking with no hangover?
Clear liquors like mezcal and tequila are gluten free and low in congeners, a substance created during fermentation that one study has linked to increased hangover severity . Vodka is also low in congeners, but if you’re on a gluten free diet, look for varieties made with corn or potato.
Have protein and a healthy fat before you drink to help balance blood sugar. Because alcohol can deplete your body of nutrients, it’s even more important to ensure you’re eating vitamin-rich foods when you’re drinking instead of reaching for processed foods common at parties.
Avoid cocktails with sugary mixers—often, it’s the sugar that leaves people feeling bad the next day. Use naturally sweet ingredients like fruit and fresh fruit juice to add flavor. Try our festive low-sugar cocktail recipes below, or create your own.
Sara is a content creator who has worked with outlets such as Outside Magazine, Well + Good, Healthline, and Men's Journal, and as a journalist at Shape and Self and publications in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Rome. She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer. She has a degree in communication with concentrated studies in journalism from Villanova University.
Outside of office hours, you can usually find her taking a dance class, trying out the latest fitness craze, or teaching and performing synchronized swimming with The Brooklyn Peaches.