Alcohol and weight loss are terms that you do not hear together very often, and that’s for good reason. Alcohol has many detrimental effects on weight loss, from being packed with calories to slowing your body’s ability to burn fat.
It’s hard to give up the things we love, and alcohol is an important part of a lot of people’s lives it helps them unwind after a hard week of work and socialize with friends. But when you start to get serious about your weight and losing weight you will need to realize that there are many side effects of alcohol on weight loss that are severely holding you back from reaching your ideal body.
Firstly, if you think your problem might be a bit larger than a habit, you might want to look into rehabilitation options. The alcoholism recovery timeline can be long and difficult, so it’s best to get in front of the problem.
How Alcohol Effects Weight Loss
Alcohol consumption is often overlooked when people think about losing weight and cutting calories, but it can have a big impact on your efforts to lose weight. It is very easy just to focus on the food you are eating (which is very important), and forget about those drinks you have at the end of the day to unwind.
Alcohol (in its pure form) contains around 7 calories per gram; this is nearly double the amount contained in protein and carbohydrates (4) and just a little less than fat (9). If your goal is to lose weight, then you need to be wary about how much alcohol you consume on a daily and weekly basis.
Alcoholic drinks contain calories but have no nutritional content. Our bodies process the alcohol first when we drink, before the fat, and this could lead to weight gain. You also need to be aware of the present raft of low-carb beers that may be perceived as a more healthy option. But the calories are in the alcohol and not the carbohydrates. A 12 oz bottle of low-carb beer may still contain more than 100 calories and should not regard as a healthy choice when on a weight loss program.
Out of all the alcoholic drinks, beer tends to contain the most calories, a regular bottle of beer contains around 150 calories and a pint of beer contains more than 200 (around 220). A small glass of wine contains around 90 calories, and a single measure of spirits contains roughly 55 calories.
You also have to bear in mind that spirits tend to drink with mixers, such as cola or lemonade which contain more calories (unless you go for the diet options). When you look at the calories in alcoholic drinks, it is easy to see how drinking alcohol regularly can clock up the calories over a period.
There is another side effect of drinking (particularly after a heavy session), it makes you feel hungry. We tend to seek out food following a good drink, and it is rarely fresh fruit or a healthy green salad. Kebab joints and curry houses do their best business late on Friday and Saturday nights, as we look to satisfy our hunger cravings.
Your willpower and self-control will be at its lowest following a good night’s drinking. Bars also stock plenty of unhealthy snacks such as salted peanuts and crisps, to accompany your relaxing pint. The following are ways in which alcohol affects your body and leads to weight loss:
1. Alcohol & Calories
The first problem with regular alcohol consumption as a part of your diet, is the fact that it’s a source of empty calories. Empty calories have the same energy content as “regular” calories but are nutritionally sparse by comparison. They lack the accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants.
As they have little/no additional nutritional value, calories from alcohol are mostly stored as fat. Add mixers (which are loaded with refined sugar) to the alcohol, and things get even worse!
Mixed drinks can often contain 300 or more calories, which can easily sabotage your fat loss progress. Also, alcohol can impair your judgment with regards to making smart food choices. How often does a heavy night out the end with you craving foods high in salt and processed fats?
So you could end up feasting on kebabs, wings, nachos and pizza while drinking as well. On an average night out, you could easily consume more than 2000 calories, which is almost the equivalent of half a pound of body fat.
2. Alcohol & Fat Burning.
Moving along, the next thing that you’ll want to consider is the effect that alcohol has on your body’s fat burning ability. Soon after consuming an alcohol beverage, all fat burning comes to an immediate and abrupt halt. Remember your body has one purpose: keeping you alive.
Alcohol is a toxic substance (and a threat to your survival); your body will immediately start to get rid of it. Other metabolic processes, such as fat burning, will drop down the priority list, and it’s only after the alcohol has been metabolized and removed from your body, that you can continue burning fat.
3. Alcohol & Recovery.
Consuming alcohol during your diet is the fact that it will interfere with your recovery ability. If you “reward yourself” with a drink relatively soon after a workout session, the process of rebuilding and repairing your muscle tissue is delayed and dramatically reduced.
Alcohol is one of the most common culprits responsible for slow/stalled progress in the gym. Since your effort and progress in the gym is a vital factor influencing how quickly you achieve the lean physique that you desire, this can hinder your results.
Try to limit your alcohol consumption to special occasions, and try not to have too much in the house. Before going out drinking, eat a good sized meal and try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Avoid the takeaway on the way home and have plenty of water when you get home.
Next time you think about drinking, think about what it’s doing to your body. Drink a non-alcoholic beer and still enjoy the great taste, get a German beer if you worried about people seeing the nonalcoholic beer on the label.