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8 Feb 2024 - News

Can You Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight ?

Losing weight is often associated with making sacrifices and giving up certain indulgences. Or as I like to better put it making specific lifestyle changes to help prioritise what is of most importance to you. 

One common question that arises is whether it is possible to lose weight while still enjoying the occasional alcoholic beverage. While it is true that weight loss is primarily dependent on maintaining a calorie deficit, it is essential to be aware of the challenges posed by alcohol consumption. In this blog post, I will explore the relationship between alcohol and weight loss, highlighting the difficulties of maintaining a calorie deficit while consuming alcohol and the negative effects that regular alcohol consumption can have on physical and mental health.

To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns, thus creating a calorie deficit. Alcohol, however, poses a significant challenge to maintaining this deficit particularly if consumed daily.  Alcoholic beverages are often high in calories, and these calories provide little to no nutritional value. A single gram of alcohol contains approximately 7 calories, which is almost as calorie-dense as fat (9 calories per gram).  So even a moderate amount of alcohol can quickly add up and massively hinder weight loss progress.  

2 x Pints of lager – approx 400cals 

Half bottle of wine – approx 325cals

2 x double gin and tonic – approx 300cals 

So if you consumed say a half bottle of wine per day that would equate to an extra 2275 calories per week which for many will be more than a full days worth of calories.  

Could you still lose weight?  Im assuming if you stayed in a calorie deficit then you could but it would come at the cost of eating a lot less food and depriving your body of the nutrients it needs for health and recovery.  Thus means you would need to prioritise alcohol over food which suggests that drinking alcohol daily is very important to you maybe more important than your overall health and wellbeing.    

Apart from the calorie content, regular alcohol consumption can have various negative effects on both physical health and mental well-being. It is important to be aware of these effects to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption while on a weight loss journey. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Increased Calorie Intake: Alcoholic beverages are often accompanied by mixers or consumed alongside high-calorie snacks, leading to additional calorie intake from foods with little nutritional value, it can also stimulate appetite and increase cravings for high-calorie foods, leading to overeating and sabotaging weight loss efforts.

2. Impaired Fat Burning: When alcohol is present in the system, the body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over burning fat. This can slow down the fat-burning process and make weight loss more challenging.

3. Decreased Inhibitions: Alcohol can lower inhibitions and impair judgment, leading to poor food choices and overeating. This can disrupt your weight loss efforts and hinder progress.

4. Nutritional Deficiencies: Alcohol can interfere with the absorption and utilization of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for overall health and weight management.

5. Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Regular alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, affecting the quality and quantity of sleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.

6. Decreased motivation: Alcohol may lead to feelings of depression and low motivation.  Suddenly you don’t feel as energetic and motivated to go to your planned sessions as you hoped and so the after effects can sometimes lead to periods of less movement which is detrimental to weight loss.  

While it is important to be aware of the challenges posed by alcohol consumption, it does not mean that you have to completely give up drinking to achieve your weight loss goals. Enjoying alcohol in moderation can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Moderation means limiting your alcohol intake to a reasonable amount and being mindful of the calories it adds to your overall daily intake.

Losing weight while enjoying the occasional alcoholic beverage is possible but requires careful consideration and moderation. Being aware of the challenges of maintaining a calorie deficit while consuming alcohol is essential for successful weight loss. Regular alcohol consumption can have negative effects on physical health and mental well-being, making it important to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption. Ultimately, finding a balance between enjoying a drink and prioritizing your weight loss goals is key to achieving long-term success.