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How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?

Most people know this but aren’t truly aware that being overweight can cause serious health problems and reduce your life span. That being said, the best thing you can do for yourself is to maintain a healthy weight.

So, you decide to lose weight, and the first thing you do is cut calories and exercise regularly. Weeks go by, but you can’t see any results, and the scale number is the same. You’re probably getting discouraged, wondering what you’re doing wrong. One thing that can sabotage your weight loss journey is alcohol. Drinking higher amounts of your favorite alcoholic drink will stop you from seeing results and contributes to weight gain.

In this article, we’ll cover how alcohol affects the body and the weight loss process, a few tricks to enjoy your favorite drink without it affecting your weight, and the best alcoholic drinks with the lowest calories.

Key Takeaways:

  • Drinking alcohol can slow down your metabolism and cause weight gain
  • Most alcoholic beverages contain a lot of sugar and empty calories that won’t help you lose those extra pounds
  • You can sometimes enjoy a glass of your favorite drink without it affecting your weight
  • Making smart alcoholic choices and drinking in moderation will help you stay on track

The Truth About Alcohol and Your Weight: 4 Ways Alcohol Is Hurting Your Fitness Goals

Your genes, diet, lifestyle, and gender play a huge role in how alcohol affects your body and weight. Although we all enjoy occasionally drinking our favorite drink, the reality is that alcohol can affect your weight and your fitness goals.

Alcohol Contains Hidden Sugar and Calories

The amount of sugar and calories depends on the alcoholic drink you’re drinking, but the bottom line is that all alcoholic drinks contain hidden sugar and calories. Dry wine is one of the best options because it contains the least sugar. On the other hand, the worst alcoholic drinks you can consume are cocktails and flavored ciders because they are packed with sugar.

Alcohol Slows Down Fat Burning

When you consume alcohol, it changes the way your body burns fat. Instead of burning fat, your body will focus on breaking down the alcohol. This means that your body will be burning all the empty calories from the alcohol rather than burning your body fat so you won’t lose any weight anytime soon.

Alcohol Stresses Your Body and Causes Weight Gain Around the Abdomen

Some people choose to relax by drinking, but the reality is that alcohol consumption causes a lot of stress to your body. Alcohol increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that promotes weight gain and fat accumulation in the abdomen.

Alcohol Prevents Getting a Quality Sleep

Excessive drinking has been scientifically linked with poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation. Insomnia is bad for your overall health and can cause weight gain over time. People struggling with sleep deprivation are more prone to consuming fast food and snacks.

Alcohol is not only hurting your fitness goal, but it can also harm the whole body. Excessive drinking can cause serious health problems and lead to addiction.

5 Tips to Enjoy Alcohol Without Affecting Your Weight Loss

If you can’t completely cut down on alcohol, and some people really can’t give up their guilty pleasure, there are ways you can enjoy your favorite drink without it affecting your weight loss journey. We must emphasize that the best and fastest way to lose weight is to eliminate alcohol from your diet. Also, avoid drinking on an empty stomach because that intensifies the effect of alcohol.

Keep reading to discover how you can enjoy your favorite drink and still achieve your weight goals.

Drink in Moderation and Set Your Limits

If you want to succeed in losing weight, drink moderately. The recommended intake of alcohol is one drink for women and two for men. Excessive drinking is bad for your weight and overall health and can lead to addiction.

Drink Your Favorite Drink From a Smaller Glass

Porton control is key! We already know how effective portion control is in food, so it’s time to incorporate this rule into your drinking. Anytime you decide to indulge in a drink, grab a smaller glass than usual.

Eat Before You Drink

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to absorb much faster in your bloodstream. It’s important to eat something healthy before taking a drink. We know that beer goes great with chicken wings, but that’s not the healthiest choice if you’re planning on losing weight.

Pro Tip

It would be best to eat a nutritious meal that contains complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Drink Lots of Water

Make sure you drink one to two glasses of water for every drink you consume. Alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking water will help you replenish the fluids.

If you adore white wine, cut the alcohol in half by adding sparkling water to your favorite glass of wine. This simple tip will help you cut out alcohol without even noticing.

Avoid Cocktails at All Cost

We already mentioned that cocktails are packed with sugars, so they can easily stop you from losing weight. Avoid any cocktail with added sugars, juice, soda, energy drinks, tonic water, and syrups.

Extra Tip: The Best Alcohols for Weight Loss

Here’s a list of the best alcohols that are low in calories and won’t cause you to gain weight (or at least lessen the effect):

  • Whiskey
  • Tequila
  • Rum
  • Red wine
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Champagne
  • Light beer

Even though the alcohols mentioned above are low in calories, that doesn’t mean you need to drink more than 1-2 drinks. More importantly, you should do so as rarely as possible, preferably on special occasions only.

The Bottom Line – Alcohol Sabotages Weight Loss

No matter how hard you work in the gym and keep a balanced and healthy diet if you drink alcohol daily, everything will go down the drain, and you won’t see any results. Alcohol is not good for the body and won’t be your ally in the battle against those unwanted pounds.

If you want your effort to pay off, eliminating alcohol consumption from your diet is the best way. If you’re a person who can’t imagine a celebration without a drink, then choose a drink that’s low in calories, and don’t forget to drink a lot of water. Drink smart, slow, and in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Alcohol increases cortisol levels, and cortisol is a stress hormone that promotes weight gain and fat accumulation in the abdomen area. So, yes, drinking might be the cause of your big belly. The famous beer belly is also a product of excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcohol can cause your body to focus on breaking down the alcohol instead of burning fat. Your body will be busy burning all the empty calories from the alcohol rather than burning your body fat. This will significantly slow down your weight loss efforts.

Not only alcohol slows down metabolism, but it can also lead to impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Alcohol can stay in your system between 6-72 hours. The body usually needs more than 25 hours to clear all the alcohol.

Excessive drinking and drinking alcohol-containing tons of sugar can cause weight gain. Alcohol can also lead to sleep deprivation, one of the main causes of excessive weight.

Although we recommend completely avoiding alcohol, drinking in moderation and choosing low-calorie alcoholic drinks can help you lose weight if combined with a balanced diet and exercise.

You can drink and lose weight if drinking is done in moderation and if you make wise alcohol choices. Choose a low-calorie alcoholic drink, drink more water, and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

The skinniest alcoholic drink is vodka, with 100 calories per shot. Other low-calorie choices are whiskey, gin, and tequila.

The healthiest alcoholic drink is red wine. It’s not only low in calories but also promotes cardiovascular health.

Alcohol slows down the fat-burning process, contains a lot of hidden sugars and calories, causes stress to the body, leading to fat accumulation, and can cause insomnia. All of these things cause weight gain.

It depends on how much you typically drink. If you have a clean, nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and can lose a pound or two in the first week after stopping drinking.

Always consume alcohol in moderation and drink from a smaller glass for portion control. Ensure you always have a healthy meal before drinking and drink tons of water to flush out the alcohol faster.

The best drinks to consume on your weight loss journey include whiskey, tequila, rum, red wine, light beer, dry Vermouth, and champagne.

Alcoholic drinks that can make you gain weight are cocktails that contain added sugars, juice, soda, energy drinks, tonic water, and syrups.

After three weeks without alcohol, you’ll sleep better, your body will be more hydrated, your mind will be sharper, your skin will look better, you’ll start losing weight, and you’ll be in a better mood.


Tose Zafirov

I have dedicated my life to professional fitness. It’s my passion and life’s work. With over 26 years of experience, I am willing to share everything I have learned within the industry. If you love sports as much as I do, this blog is the place to be!

Official Mr. Olympia Representative

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