How does alcohol affect weight loss?
You want to lose weight, but you’re unsure on what to do when it comes to alcohol. Some studies suggest that drinking in moderation (especially red wine) is good for you. Others suggest that you shouldn’t drink at all when it comes to weight loss.
You like drinking socially with your friends. Alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture, and some of us can’t live without it. You have questions:
”How do I lose weight?”
“Can I continue drinking, or should I stop completely for weight loss?”
“Which drinks are best for me if I want to lose weight?”
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Sports Samurai has you covered.
How do I achieve weight loss?
Before we start talking about alcohol, let’s start with the basics of weight loss. Unless you understand these principles, you won’t be able to achieve weight loss.
The law of thermodynamics states that you must be in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight,. This is simply consuming less calories than you expend each day. We can achieve this by either eating less, exercising more, or ideally, a combination of the two. Why not treat yourself to a new gym bag to keep you motivated to exercise more?
The reason why we put on weight in the first place is the total opposite to this – this is called a calorie surplus. We consumed more calories than we expended, which equates to stored fat.
Where does alcohol fit in?
Unfortunately, alcohol has calories. Because alcohol is made from sugar or starch, it contains a lot – 7 calories a gram. This is almost as many as fat, which has 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. The calories from alcohol are referred to as “empty calories” – this is because they contain little minerals and nutrients.
In order to lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit. Because alcohol contains calories, it’s more difficult to be in a calorie deficit when you’re drinking. A drink or two could mean the difference between a calorie deficit and not. Maintaining a calorie deficit consistently is challenging enough as it is, so do you want to make it more difficult by eating even less, just so you can have that extra drink? That’s a question only you can answer.
Other effects of alcohol
There are other ways in which alcohol affects your weight loss. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and can also make you hungrier. This that you may do things you wouldn’t usually do that you do when under the influence as alcohol, such as eat those chips or pizza after a night out. This results in more calories, and a calorie deficit here is close to impossible.
Alcohol can also have an effect on your sleep quality. Sleep is one of the most underrated factors when it comes to weight loss, and a good night’s sleep is key. If you don’t sleep well, you’re likely to be more hungry the next day, and have less energy to exercise. This is especially true if you’re hungover!
Alcohol helps to burns the fat of your body. After you consume alcohol, your body is focused on breaking down alcohol, rather than burning fat. This means it may take longer to lose weight if you’re consistently consuming alcohol.
What alcoholic drinks can you drink?
As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you could technically drink any alcoholic drink you wanted. It’s harder to be in a calorie deficit if you’re drinking higher calorie drinks though, so here are 5 lower calorie options that could help you enjoy alcohol in moderation, but also limit your calories:
- Red wine, or champagne
- Gin and tonic (diet tonic is even better)
- Any spirit with a diet mixer, such as rum and diet coke, vodka and diet lemonade, etc.
- Whiskey on the rocks
- Light beer
Most of the above drinks contain around 50 to 150 calories per serving, which is a good amount for an alcoholic beverage, and could help with weight loss. Some beers could contain as much as 300, so 50 to 150 calories is better. Here, it’s important to remember that you’re trying to reduce your calories, so it doesn’t mean you can have double the amount. Drinking in moderation is still key.
Conclusion : Drinking alcohol frequently has become normal for some people. Alcohol contains calories, however, and if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to consider limiting alcohol, or cut it out altogether. There are other consequences of drinking alcohol beyond calories, such as lower inhibitions, poor quality sleep, and changing the way your body burns fat. If you do decide to continue consuming alcohol, do so in moderation. Use the above lower calorie drinks to help you here.