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Is alcohol sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

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Calories from alcohol can be referred to as ’empty calories’, as they really have no nutritional value. It’s not just the calories from the alcohol that can impact on body fat but the way that alcohol is processed in the body. We can store nutrients in the body but we can’t store alcohol. Therefore the body prioritises processing alcohol before other processes like burning fat or absorbing other nutrients. Therefore we end up storing fat!

The high amount of calories that is in some alcoholic drinks means that after several drinks you’ve racked up so many calories that you’d have to do some fairly lengthy exercise in order to burn them off. One pint of lager contains around 182 calories, a pint of cider around 210 calories, a 175ml glass of wine around 126 calories and a bottle of alcopop typically around 240 calories. Times that by how ever many drinks you have and that’s a lot of calories. It’s not just the alcoholic drinks that helps us pile on the pounds but the food that we often end up eating after too. Typically a night out might end up with a take-away or something as equally calorific. Not only that but also the day after drinking we tend to crave fatty foods. It’s the body’s way of trying to replenish energy and nutrients from the heavy drinking session.

Often people drink heavily over the weekend and tell themselves that they will ‘get back on track’ on the Monday. But the damage has already been done. Make this a regular habit of binge drinking most weekends and you’ll soon earn yourself that extra tyre round the waist which will take a lot longer than one night to come off again. A great way to reduce calorie intake would therefore be to reduce alcohol consumption. Realistically there are going to be events and occasions such as bank holidays where people are going to be more likely to drink. So there are a few things that you can do to so that you don’t completely blow your hard work.

  1. Add low calorie mixers to drinks such as tonic water and soda water rather than cola or lemonade which are just going to add even more calories and sugar
  2. Get a longer drink (i.e. white wine spritzer in a tall glass with more soda in it)
  3. Alcopops, wines and beers are more calorific compared with white spirits such as vodka, gin and martini
  4. Drink water in-between alcoholic drinks
  5. Opt out of rounds as you may end up drinking faster to keep up and hence you end up drinking more
  6. Eat before you go out
  7. Set yourself a limit in your head before you go out. Subconsciously your brain will ‘remind’ you of this later on in the night

Lastly just be mindful. Alcohol can be enjoyed without going overboard


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