Is alcohol consumption derailing your weight loss journey?

Darren Smith
Darren Smith

 | 1 minute to read
Nutrition

In simple terms, alcoholic beverages contain calories but minimal to no nutrients, hence why alcohol is often referred to as empty calories. These calories don’t properly fuel your body and can hinder weight loss. If you’re trying to lose weight and eat in a health-conscious manner, it’s good to start by cutting sources of empty calories, like alcohol. For some people, it could be equating to hundreds of extra calories or more a day, without them even realising it! Alcohol can increase calorie intake through the alcohol content itself with its 7 calories per gram of alcohol (note: 1 standard drink equates to 10 grams of alcohol), as well as the calories from the unnecessary carbs/sugar in the alcoholic drink and/or from the mixers selected to drink with the alcohol such as soft drinks & juices.

In addition to the extra calories being consumed when drinking alcohol, alcohol also becomes the primary energy source to be burned. Since alcohol becomes the priority in the metabolic process, your body won’t metabolise fats & sugars as efficiently, ultimately slowing your metabolism down over time & adding to higher body fat stores. Instead of burning fat, your body is burning the calories from the alcohol so it will take you longer to lose weight. There are other indirect reasons alcohol and losing weight don’t go together. First, when you drink, it lowers your inhibitions, which means you might reach for those extra slices of pizza when you wouldn’t ordinarily. You’re going to be paying less attention to what and how you’re eating, and that’s just one problematic part of alcohol and weight loss. Some other ways alcohol and weight loss are related, negatively, include: • If you’re drinking and then you don’t feel well the next day, you’re going to be less likely to be physically active or exercise. • Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in your body, and this is a hormone that’s important for losing weight and gaining lean muscle. • Not only does alcohol lower your inhibitions about the food choices you make, but it can also increase your appetite. If you really want to lose weight, you might need to cut out alcohol altogether to get the best results. You may be able to eventually reintroduce alcohol in moderation once you’ve reached your goal weight, but if you continue to drink, shedding pounds is going to be more difficult. Alcohol has calories, it changes the way your metabolism functions, and it lowers your inhibitions, so you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods. If you are going to drink and you’re worried about alcohol and losing weight, choose low calorie options & drink in moderation.

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