Alcohol-weight-gainIf you want to lose weight, you have to skip the booze. There are no two ways about it. One pint of beer contains as many calories as three chocolate biscuits while two glasses of wine equals one glazed doughnut. The World Cancer Research Fund says forgetting the calories in booze is one of the top reasons for diet failure and cutting down on drinks could help people lose weight. Being overweight, the report claims is the biggest cancer risk factor after smoking and even one pint of beer a  day can increase person’s risk of liver and bowel cancer. Along with being having no nutritional value, alcoholic beverages tend to lower your inhibitions making you eat more and unhealthier than you intend to. Cutting down on drinking can have a big effect on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.

First why you got to stop boozing if you want to lose weight

  • It has way more calories than you think: 30 ml of whisky (one small peg) has about 111 calories! One small peg of vodka has 55 calories while one bottle of light beer (650ml) has 208 calories. To put in context 100 g of chicken breast has 116 calories and one McChicken with cheese has 460 calories. While they don’t contain as many calories as junk food they definitely add to the count.

 

Drink

Calories*

Whiskey (30ml)

111

Vodka (30 ml)

55

Beer (650ml)

208

Wine (120ml)

89

 *Source: weightlossresources.co.uk

  •  It is digested differently: When we drink, the body sees alcohol as a toxic substance and attempts to get rid of it. It converts the alcohol into alcohol dehydrogenase which eventually changes to aldehydes. All these substances are toxic to the body. The body then tries to get rid of these compounds up by burning them as fuel for the body’s activities. This means your body will significantly reduce fat-burning to about 75% of its normal capacity after just one and a half drinks. It will also stop using carbs as energy which is why after a few drinks your body tends to accumulate more weight.
  • It is a diuretic: Which means it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with water you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc – all of them vital to maintain your normal bodily functions including metabolism.
  • Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways: Drinking may help you sleep, but it will be unnatural sleep which will leave you restless and tired the next day. It also tends to trigger greater craving for calorie rich foods the next day. It also increases the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing the stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time it will cause stomach ulcers, liver and heart disease.
  • It lowers your inhibitions:  Drinking seriously affects our drinking and those tasty crispy appetisers are certainly going to add to your curves. To top it up alcohol is also stimulates your appetite. Research shows that drinking during or before a meal, reduces both inhibition and will power. In that state you are more likely to overeat, especially fried and fatty foods.   
  • The colas and juices that are part of a cocktail add to the calorie content. Instead you could try adding water, diet soda or club soda.

Cheater tips to drink and not gain weight

There will bet times when you simply can’t say no to the drink – it could be an office party or your best friend’s wedding. Here are some tips which will help you navigate the bar and keep your calorie intake to a minimum:

  • Stick to a standard number of drinks: Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day; women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.

Alcohol

Quantity

Unit

Beer

330 ml

1

Spirits (Whisky, Vodka, Tequila)

30 ml

1

Red wine/ White wine

175 ml

2

  •  Get hydrated: Have a glass of water after every drink; this will help prevent dehydration.
  •  Don’t drink on an empty stomach: Ideally you should eat a healthy meal before you start to drink, but if you do decide to have snacks while you drink, try to opt for some of the healthier options available. You could opt for salted peanuts instead of the standard chips or fries.
  •  Don’t compete: If your friend challenges you to a drinking match, opt out. Stick to your own pace.
  • Get some support: Try to get your friends to cut down on the number of drinks, you will be more successful in cutting down if you have moral support.
  •  Pace yourself: Take smaller sips, so as to maintain a regular pace. This method ensures you drink lesser and are not pressured into drinking as fast as your friends.
  • Avoid ‘binge drinking’: If you don’t drink all week, the weekend should not be an excuse to make up for time lost. Remember it is still one day and your body can take only that much. Avoid the bottoms ups and drinking games. Drink like a civilised person.
  • Don’t go neat: Avoid having neat drinks. Instead you can add some soda or water which will increase the quantity of the drink.

All said and done, it is better if you avoid drinking all together while on a strict exercise or weight loss regime. Boozing has no place in a healthy individual’s lifestyle. 

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  • Rick

    Drink like a civilized person? Avoid drinking games? Tell your friends to drink less? Buzzkillington much! Shall i just retire now? Live your life and have fun, dont follow these tips zzzzz

  • Roger Lenton

    My wife loves to have a little Bailey’s Irish Cream in her morning coffee, yet complains that she can’t lose weight. I have told her it is likely the Bailey’s, but she insists that when she counts her calories she is within her norms. How can I convince her that it is the type of calories she’s taking in and not necessarily the number that might be hurting her weight loss efforts?

    Also, would a couple of 5 ounce red wines at night be better for her then a couple of ounces of Bailey’s in the morning?

    Regards, Roger from Canada

  • Alex H personal trainer

    It’s not bad but I think this is misleading. Pretty much agree with what NeatBodies wrote in their weight loss book:
    Losing weight is all about a sequence of biological reactions:

    1. Creating the right metabolic state.
    2. Spiking Muscle Insulin Sensitivity.
    3. Depleting Glycogen
    4. Breaking Fat
    5. Burning broken fat.
    The better you trigger them in order, the more fat you are going to lose.

    It’s a good read if you have 30 minutes to spare and are serious about results.