How do I lose weight when I drink alcohol?

  • 1 Minute Read

If you've ever wondered, "How do I lose weight when I drink alcohol?" you're not alone. Alcohol consumption and dieting don't really go hand-in-hand, and because of its empty calories, it isn't recommended. However, the extra calories from alcohol may not be the primary reason people gain weight when they drink more. In fact, there may be two things worse about alcohol than its calories.

How do I lose weight when I drink alcohol

When I drink alcohol, do I still have a chance to lose weight?

If alcohol has a moderated place in your diet, and you accurately track its calories, there may be no reason to stop enjoying it. However, there are a few important things to assess regarding alcohol's potential impact on your overall diet and exercise. If you are experiencing a weight-loss plateau or feel more fatigued in your workouts, consider the following:

  1. Alcohol may lower your body's ability to burn fat. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who consumed less than an ounce of alcohol over a 30-minute time period reduced their body's ability to burn fat by 73 percent.
  2. Alcohol can derail your good intentions. Consuming alcohol dulls the body's senses for feeling full. This produces a compounded effect as alcohol reduces your ability to withstand temptations. If your body can't sense it's full, you may consume more calories than you need or plan.

A study from the UK found that people who had the equivalent of two drinks with food ate 30 percent more than those who didn't. Similarly, a Dutch study showed that it takes people longer to feel full if they drank alcohol before a meal.

Alcohol does not help you sleep better. In fact, when you consume alcohol, you can experience increased waking, a shallower sleep, heartburn, and an inflamed digestive system. Alcohol can also prevent the absorption of other vital nutrients our bodies need. Science shows that when people consume alcohol, their bodies expend energy to expel it from their systems. This leaves little time for the body to process vitamins and minerals and properly maintain blood glucose levels.

Alcohol really is full of empty calories. It has nearly twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbs. Given that alcohol is not an essential nutrient, we truly can do without it.

Additional reading on alcohol and weight:
Can beer have a place in your weight loss plan?

How to fit red wine calories into your diet

This blog was reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE on December 17, 2020.

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Alcohol & Other Beverages->Calories
Dec 19, 2020
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

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