Even though happy hour at restaurants and bars is on hold in many parts of the world as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions we are experiencing, alcohol consumption is on the rise.
You might be thinking that having a glass of wine with dinner is good for your heart. However, that’s not the reality. What’s the connection between alcohol and weight loss? The Lancet published an analysis in 2019 which concluded that while alcohol provides some protective factors for diabetes and heart disease among women, the positive effects are counterbalanced by the fact that alcohol can increase the risk of communicable disease, accidents, and cancer.
Drinking alcohol is a favorite activity for humans, both culture and socially. Alcohol use is such an ordinary part of our culture that sometimes we forget about the risks that it brings. Drinking excessively is linked to many health concerns, and one of them is being overweight.
How Alcohol Affects Weight Loss
Let’s see what are the ways that alcohol and weight loss are connected.
1. Alcohol Is Often Empty Calories
From a calorie perspective, alcohol and weight loss are a bad combination. One of the reasons why weight loss and alcohol aren’t a good combination is because alcohol has “empty calories,” meaning that the calories you consume through alcohol don’t have any nutritional value.
The alcohol itself has calories, and so do the common mixers like soda or juice (they have lots of calories, carbs, and sugars).
2. Alcohol Can Affect Your Organs
The main role of your liver is to filter any foreign substances that enter your body, such as alcohol and drugs. The liver also plays an important role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Excessively consuming alcohol can lead to a condition known as alcoholic fatty liver. This condition can damage your liver, which in turn will affect how your body stores and metabolizes fats and carbohydrates. It can be difficult to lose weight with these changes in the way your body stores energy from food happening.
3. Alcohol and Sex Hormones
The levels of hormones in the body can be affected by alcohol intake, especially the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that plays a role in many metabolic processes, including fat burning capabilities and muscle formation.
One study concluded that low levels of testosterone might predict the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by high mass index, high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Also, it is important to note that lower levels of testosterone might influence the quality of sleep, especially in men that are older.
4. Alcohol Affects Judgement Calls
It is no secret that alcohol affects your judgment calls. When intoxicated, even the most committed person on a diet will have a difficult time fighting off the desire to eat. Intoxication can lead to the poor making of decisions, and this is especially true when it comes to food choices.
A recent study done in 2017 concluded that mice that were given ethanol for three days had a significant increase in food intake. This study suggests that the hunger signals in the brain can be triggered by alcohol, and they can lead to an increased urge to eat more. Another study also concluded that alcohol consumption triggered AgRP neutrons, which are neutrons that are activated by starvation and result in immense huger.
5. Alcohol Affects Sleep
Studies have shown that alcohol leads to an increase in wakefulness periods during sleep cycles. Even though you initially will fall asleep fast, alcohol still disrupts shut-eye. Sleep deprivation, whether it’s from impaired sleep or lack of sleep, can lead to an imbalance in the hormones related to energy storage, satiety, and hunger.
Another thing to consider is that you’ll be saving a lot of energy if you don’t drink alcohol. Hangovers are draining and cause fatigue and energy loss.
Tips to Enjoy Alcohol Without Affecting Your Weight Loss
The following tips can help people cut down on the use of alcohol in order to achieve their weight loss goals faster.
- Use a smaller glass – If you’re trying to combine alcohol and weight loss, to achieve and maintain moderate weight, portion control is really important, and this rule also applies to beverages.
- Alternate alcoholic beverages with water – By alternating alcoholic beverages with water, you will consume less alcohol in a certain period.
- Have a few alcohol-free days per week – It is best to avoid consuming alcohol every day and set limits on your drinking.
- Opt-out for alcohol with fewer calories – Below, we will discuss types of alcohol that are best suited for weight loss.
Best Types of Alcohol for Weight Loss
When it comes to alcohol and weight loss, here are the best types of alcohol to drink if you’re trying to watch your weight.
- Light beer (96 to 100 calories per 12 oz serving) – You should definitely go light if you are in the mood for beer.
- Red wine (105 calories per 5 oz serving) – One of the lower-calorie beverages you can reach for is dry red wine (like Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Champagne (85 calories per 4 oz serving) – If instead of sweet white wine, you go for bubbly, you will save about 35 calories.
- Booze on the rocks (100 calories per 1.5 oz serving) – There’s no difference in carbohydrates or calories between whiskey, gin, tequila, or vodka, so you can choose which one you prefer.
Some drinks you should avoid due to the fact that they contain more than 400 per serve are Long Island Iced Tea, Pina Colada, Fruity Daiquiris, Margarita, White Russian, And Mulled Wine.
Final Thoughts – Are Alcohol and Weight Loss a Good Combination?
The ultimate way to cut back on alcohol calories is to go liquor-free. It is vital to remember that alcohol can impact weight loss in several ways, including delaying the metabolism of sugars and fats. If you choose to drink alcohol on a given night, it’s a good idea to drinks alcoholic beverages that are low in calories.
If you are looking for more useful information on weight loss, building muscle, and exercise, make sure to check our Fitness Tips page.