Donna, who specializes in weight management and wellness, developed the 12-week program that became the foundation of the eDiets.com diet. She’s a self-proclaimed expert in agaves, tequila and other fine spirits.

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Cheers To Your Health!

by Donna M. DeCunzo-Taddeo, R.D., L.D.

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April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. Given my background, I will discuss drinking responsibly for both your safety and your health!

According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking alcohol in moderation is associated with better health and greater longevity.... more so even than is either abstaining or abusing alcohol.

However the key here is moderation. One of my husband’s favorite sayings is, “Everything in moderation... including moderation.”

Some critics have suggested that the health benefits of alcohol are not in the alcohol itself, but in the lifestyle of those who drink in moderation. The thinking is that maybe moderate drinkers have a better or more healthful lifestyle than do those who abuse alcohol or those who don’t drink at all.

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However, even when all factors are taken into account -- diet, exercise, socio-economic status and income level -- moderate drinkers still have a lower overall mortality than both groups.

Some tips for your safety and health include:

Limit your intake!
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agree that moderate drinking is defined as consuming no more than one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Before you even ask, the answer is “NO!” Sory, but you cannot save up your drinks up and consume them all on the weekend!

Be sure to choose a designated driver!
This ensures that you and your friends get home safely and do not endanger the lives of those around you. Alcohol is implicated in the deaths of some 85,000 Americans every year and that makes it the nation's third leading cause of preventable death after smoking and obesity.

Fill up on water and food.
You should always stay well hydrated with water and never consume alcohol on an empty stomach. Drinking lots of water throughout the night helps dilute the alcohol in your system. Food prevents the alcohol from hitting you quicker.

Drink slowly.
It's important to keep a steady pace when you are drinking. It can take time for alcohol to take its effect. You might feel it's okay to gulp another shot after a couple of minutes, but keep in mind that you probably haven't felt its effects just yet.

Would you like to include an occasional alcoholic beverage while watching your caloric intake? Stick with 4 ounce glasses of wine, a lite beer or try this recipe for a low-cal margarita with spunk!

Muddle half an orange, half a lemon, and half a lime in a mixing glass, and fill with ice. Pour two ounces of a fine tequila (I prefer Voodoo Tiki Platinum Tequila) and add agave syrup to taste. Shake and pour all contents -- including ice and fruit -- into a rocks glass. Sip and enjoy! Mmmmm!

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Diet.com expert blogger Donna M. DeCunzo-Taddeo is the registered and licensed dietitian who developed the 12-week weight management program that became the foundation of the eDiets.com weight loss program. Together with her husband, writer/director John Taddeo, Donna has since launched Voodoo Tiki Tequila Corp. Donna has been featured by CNN, NBC, NY Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s World and Women’s Day.

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