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Alcohol and Weight: How Bad is Alcohol for Weight Loss?

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The extra few pounds that you find a hard time getting rid of can be shed by giving up alcohol. Nowadays, alcohol has become an integral part of our lives. The youth digs for the weekend to come after a long, exhausting week to have a glass of wine or two with friends. This has become a culture, making alcohol, more or less, a part of the diet as well. It is more like a feel-good drug and is consumed on mass levels. Alcohol has been found to have some benefits. For instance, red wine is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. But the fact remains that alcohol plays a role in weight management. Skipping alcohol can give impressive results as far as weight loss is concerned.

Following are the ways alcohol can put a stop on your weight loss plans


1. Alcohol Supplies more Calories than Proteins and Carbohydrates

There is a reason why alcohol or alcoholic drinks are termed as “empty” calories, that is to say, they provide your body with a lot of calories but do not contain many nutrients. In a 12-ounce beer can, there are 155 calories and 125 calories in a 5-ounce glass of red wine. The recommended amount is between 150-200 calories. If you are out with your friends partying, you can easily consume a few hundred extra calories. Basically, alcohol supplies almost twice as many as protein and carbohydrates. Moreover, calories in alcohol do not contain nutrients required for the proper functioning and a healthy metabolism of the body, which eventually leads to the storage of fat. Some cocktails are full of fats. Not only that, wine and beer also have high carbohydrate content. Beer contains more carbohydrates and less alcohol than wine, but it is responsible for weight gain due to its higher energy content.

2. Alcohol can Affect your Organs

Any harmful foreign substance, say alcohol that enters your body is filtered out by the liver. The liver is also responsible for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Drinking alcohol in excess can only lead to a phenomenon called alcoholic fatty liver. This condition can have an adverse effect in your body as it directly impacts your liver, thus affecting how the metabolism of the body. Alcohol is most destructive during the liver’s process of detoxification. Also, alcohol can be irritating for the stomach and can slowly go on to affect the workings of the kidney as well. This is bound to give rise to serious health issues. Naturally, if the stomach does not operate normally, it will reduce the rate and efficiency at which food is digested which in turn will hamper the weight loss process.

3. Alcohol lowers Testosterone

Every time you consume alcohol, the level of testosterone hits a new low. As you know, testosterone helps in fat loss, which means more alcohol would lessen the chance of weight loss. Also, testosterone contributes to gains in lean muscle mass. Low testosterone levels mean fewer muscle gains, which further implies a reduced metabolic rate. This will make the job of losing fat more difficult. Clearly, alcohol leads to lowering of metabolic rate and dissuades testosterone from bringing into use its fat-burning effects.

4. Alcohol affects Digestion

One of the primary drawbacks of alcohol and alcoholic drinks is that they act as an impediment to proper digestive functioning. As alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines, it can lead to the lessening of digestive secretions and movement of food through the track. It is important to note that digestive secretions are crucial for healthy digestion. They are responsible for the breakdown of food into macro and micronutrients that are absorbed by the body. Therefore, alcohol intake, no matter if it’s high or low, can hamper the proper digestion and absorption of these nutrients, thereby largely affecting the organs that play a role in weight management.

5. Alcohol increases Appetite

Unfortunately, a number of researches have corroborated this point. Alcohol does increase your appetite, making the combination of alcohol and meal that is already fattening all the more harmful. Consuming alcohol before a meal can rev up your calorie intake far more than a carbohydrate drink can. Having a meal with alcohol will automatically increase the amount of food you consume. It all comes down to an appetite-stimulating effect of alcohol as it leaves people craving more food. This coupled with the fact that fatty and salty foods are usually consumed with alcohol and that you already lose inhibitions and therefore control over what and how much you eat, ensures weight gain. Alcohol also affects your resolve to motivate yourself, making it harder for you to follow the diet you are on.

Calorie and Nutrient Content of Popular Alcohol Drinks

The content of alcohol in the beverages varies to different degrees, so it is always important to know the exact percentage that is present in them. The following percentages are usually contained in each standard drink—5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled liquor.

  • Beer: 5% alcohol
  • Wine: 12% alcohol
  • 100 proof liquor: 50% alcohol
  • 80 proof liquor: 40% alcohol

Best Alcoholic Drinks for Weight Loss

Try going for the following 100- calorie drinks instead of the drinks that are high in sugar or calories.

1. Vodka

Calories: 100 calories in 1.5 ounces of distilled 80-proof vodka
Alternative cocktail: Choose low-calories mixers such as club soda.

2. Whiskey

Calories: 100 calories in 1.5 ounces of 86-proof whiskey
Alternative cocktail: Mix the cola and take your whiskey for a low-calorie alternative.

3. Gin

Calories: 115 calories in 1.5 ounces of 90-proof gin
Alternative cocktail: Take martini. Do not skip the olives as they contain beneficial antioxidants such as vitamin E.

4. Tequila

Calories: 100 calories in 1.5 ounces of tequila
Alternative cocktail: The best part about tequila is that the customary tequila “shot” is just salt, tequila, and lime.

5. Brandy

Calories: 100 calories in 1.5 ounces of brandy
Alternative cocktail: This drink is best served after dinner and a good brandy should be enjoyed slowly to savor the subtle fruity sweetness.


It is to be kept in mind that simply drinking less or not drinking a lot will not help. It has to be complemented with a balanced diet if you really wish to see desired results. Also, if you are ready to cut down on alcohol intake, you might as well switch to low-calorie soft drinks. Or you can alternate every shot of booze with water. This will not only slow down the rate of your drinking but also keep you hydrated. It is tricky to try losing weight with the alcohol but with controlled intake, even that is possible.

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