Alcohol and Fat Loss

Alcohol and Fat Loss

Most people love a wee drink or two (lol) at the weekend.  The trouble is, it has a huge impact on your fat loss goals.   If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re best not drinking alcohol at all.  This is unrealistic for a lot of people so cutting it down is the next best thing.  

So why does alcohol disrupt fat loss?

Calorie content.  
Just like protein, fats and carbs – alcohol contains calories.  The difference is that the calories from alcohol contain no nutritional value at all.   Your body also uses alcohol as fuel instead of fat or carbs so it stops the fat burning process as well as adding extra calories on top.  Then there’s the number of calories per gram…
Protein – 4kcal per gram
Carbs – 4kcal per gram 
Fat – 9kcal per gram
Alcohol – 7kcal per gram – only 2 less than fat and almost double that of protein and carbs.  
The calories from alcohol are classed as ‘empty’ calories, meaning your body has no use for them which results in weight/fat gain.  So not only are you not burning calories that you would have been had you not been drinking, you’re adding a lot more on top of what you’ve already consumed that day – no doubt putting you in a calorie surplus (meaning you’ve consumed more than you’ve burned).

Types of Drinks

Depending on what you drink, the calorie content can vary widely.  A pint of beer is around 180-200 calories, so if you drink 10 (some people can!!) that’s 1800-2000 extra calories added on to what you have eaten that day.  A large glass of red wine can contain around 230 calories.  So if you can drink a bottle or two these calories add up fairly quickly as well!

Inhibitions are lowered

We all know that when we drink too much we don’t have that ‘Off’ switch anymore.  It’s all too easy to think ‘stuff it’ and ruin all your hard week’s work in one night of drinking.  If you get a little tipsy and think ‘OK, I won’t have any more’ and stop then that’s great but most people can’t do that.  They end up drinking more and more and their calorie count just goes up and up.  The same goes for when the dreaded munchies kick in…

‘The Munchies’

I won’t go into the science behind it, but alcohol stimulates the appetite, giving us food cravings.  Most people usually crave all the food that’s bad for us like a greasy pizza, a chippy or a kebab.  Sometimes these are foods that you’d be able to resist normally when you’re sober but the ‘stuff it’ train of thought kicks in and you all of a sudden don’t care about your goals anymore.  That’s until you wake up the next day thinking ‘why did I eat that?!’.  Then there’s the dreaded hangover where you also crave the same bad food…

Make Better Choices

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices and more sensible choices with the amount and types of alcohol you have.  It’s about thinking about what’s more important to you and if jeopardising your goals is worth a crazy binge at the weekend.  No one is saying you should never drink again but have a think about how much it could set you back with your goals and how much longer it could take you to reach them. 
~ Shelagh / Shelagh Jane Fitness Coach