Does alcohol affect weight loss? Most people already know that alcohol and weight loss don’t go well together. Drinking alcoholic beverages shuts down your body’s ability to burn fat effectively. That means if you drink alcohol, you’re going to start packing on more belly fat, as well as have a more challenging time getting good quality sleep.
Alcohol and weight gain go hand-in-hand, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink if you approach drinking a certain way. Even if you want to burn fat, you’ll be able to still reduce the effects of alcohol on weight loss.
If you want to still enjoy alcohol, but don’t want to suffer unwanted weight gain, you can do the following:
1. Drink Moderately
Whenever there is a study that shows there are health benefits to drinking (usually red wine), the individuals enjoying the benefits are only drinking in moderation. Binge drinking becomes a recipe for weight gain.
To reduce the effects of alcohol, you should drink moderately, which means one drink a day if you’re a woman and two if you’re a man. However, what does “one drink” mean? We’ll break it down for you.
- A beer is 12 fluid ounces
- A glass of wine is 5 fluid ounces
- A shot of high-proof alcohol is 1.5 fluid ounces
If you follow these serving suggestions, then you can have alcohol and weight loss. Interestingly, men and women who drink moderately are less likely to become overweight than those who don’t drink. However, people who drink heavily, especially women, are more likely to become overweight.
2. Drink Lower-Calorie Alternatives
If you think alcohol and weight gain are inevitable, then you will be pleasantly surprised to know that there’s another option available for you. You have the opportunity to drink lower-calorie alternatives. The first thing you will want to do is learn which drinks have the least amount of calories and sugar.
To make it easier for you, here are the stats on some of the calorie counts of popular alcoholic beverages:
- Rum, whiskey, vodka, and tequila – These alcoholic beverages all have around 100 calories in every serving. These don’t have a lot of calories on their own. However, if you include soda or some other sugary mixer, you will pack on the pounds. You can include something that has fewer calories, like sparkling water.
- Wine – Regardless of whether it is red or white wine, each will have around 125 calories per serving. Keep that in mind before refilling your glass.
- Champagne – This alcoholic beverage has fewer calories than all others already mentioned, coming in at only 95 calories in a four-ounce glass.
- Light beer – This is the option with the fewest calories of them all. Light beer contains between 60 and 100 calories in every serving.
- Simplify Your Cocktails
When you make drinks that have several different kinds of liquors, you’re going to gain unwanted weight. This also includes adding mixers that have a lot of calories.
An example of a high-calorie cocktail is the Long Island iced tea. This cocktail has an eye-popping 240 calories, as well as 20 grams of carbs. Even more alarming, a margarita has a massive 275 calories, along with 36 grams of carbs. Drinking these is no way to lose weight!
Instead of these high-calorie drinks, opt for one of the lower-calorie ones we mentioned earlier. If you want more flavor, find something that is made from natural juices, like lime juice. If you love a little bit of tequila in your life, you can still have it. However, take it on the rocks with a little bit of lime. That drink will tack on just 96 calories.
4. Avoid Drinking on an Empty Stomach
If you think it makes perfect sense to knock back a cold one instead of having a meal, you’re unfortunately going to be wrong. In a perfect world, you could drink to your heart’s content without it expanding your waistline.
In fact, eating something before drinking will slow down the absorption of alcohol by your body. You are going to absorb just a fraction of the alcohol than you would if didn’t eat anything for a while.
Also, if you eat something before drinking, you’re going to avoid getting the munchies that often come after drinking heavily. The science behind this is actually quite simple. Drinking when your stomach is empty stops your liver from releasing glucose that has been stored in the bloodstream. This can lead to having low blood sugar, which leads to feeling hungry.
What you can do instead is make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber and protein, especially before you ever drink. Doing this will help you absorb the drinks you knock back, as well as normalize your blood sugar.
5. Drink More Slowly
Drinking an alcoholic beverage that is easy to get down quickly will lead to you drinking way more than you should be. When you choose your drinks, pick something that you will be drinking over a longer period of time. For example, you can opt for stronger drinks that take longer to get down. You will notice that you are drinking more slowly, which helps you pace yourself and avoid gaining weight.
6. Alternative Between Cocktails and Water
If you have been drinking more than a drink or two every day, then you can still have alcohol and weight loss at the same time. The alternating method is very effective. What you can do is drink a cocktail and follow it up with a glass of water. That will reduce the effects of alcohol when you are looking to lose weight.
Now that you know the answer to the question of “Does alcohol affect weight loss?” you can enjoy alcohol while keeping the weight off. Alcohol and weight gain usually go together, but you can still enjoy a drink or two a day if you’re smart about it and follow our tips.