Weight-loss and alcohol – must one exclude the other?

Losing weight can be really hard if you enjoy having a unit or two of alcohol in the evening. Alcohol gives you empty calories and will reduce your metabolism. But do you have to cut it out completely if you want to lose weight?

Alcohol consist calories you don’t necessarily think of. “It’s just a drink”. But did you know one single pina colada holds about 160 kcal? A whiskey is around 100 kcal, and a daiquiri about 170 kcal. We usually have more than just one drink, hence, total calorie intake will skyrocket. This makes the combination weight-loss and alcohol rather tricky.

weight-loss and alcohol
Cravings for unhealthy food and snacks increase when you drink alcohol.


Five reasons why weight-loss and alcohol will clinch:

  • Alcohol increases the appetite. When you drink, the alcohol stimulates your brain’s appetite signals.
  • Hidden calories. Despite its liquid form alcohol contain quite a few calories. You won’t get satiated by drinking them and thereby their presence is easily forgotten.
  • You get tired. Alcohol dehydrates your body. When you don’t have enough water in your body you will get tired faster. A typical consequence is also lower activity level.
  • Fat production increases. Your body will produce more estrogen when you drink alcohol. Estrogen stimulates the body’s fat storage.
  • Your metabolism will slow down. When you’re drinking alcohol, your lever choses to burn alcohol over fat. Hence, your fat burning will be put on hold.

As you can see, there are several reasons why weight-loss and alcohol won’t necessarily become best friends. Usually we consume more alcohol than we think of, and the daily calorie intake will be a higher total than you planned for. Normally, cravings for unhealthy snack and food increases when drinking alcohol, in addition to a lower impulse control. It all adds up to the end result not being quite so good.


Alcohol and fat burning

Calories aren’t just calories. They excist in different shapes and the alcohol version is a kind that cannot be stored in your body. Carbohydrates, proteins and fat are also calories, but these can be stored if the body doesn’t get to burn them all. Alcohol will surpass all these three in the fat burning’s priority list and your body will therefore stop burning anything else as long as the alcohol is present. Hence, it is not the alcohol itself that adds on like extra weight but rather all of the fat that won’t get burned because your metabolism focuses on getting rid of the alcohol.

weight-loss and alcohol
Alcohol goes before fat and carbs in the metabolic process. This means fat burning will be put on hold for as long as there is alcohol.


How many calories are found in the different drinks?

Variation between number of calories per drink can be huge. If you’re looking to lose weight, getting to know which drinks holds how many calories will be a clever thing to do. Red wine holds less calories than beer, while cider without added sugar is a better alternative calorie-wise than a normal fruit cider.

Regardless of which drink you chose to go with, amount is going to be the most important factor. Have a glass of water for each unit of alcohol. This way you fill your stomach and won’t manage to pour down as much alcohol. Water also contradicts the dehydration caused by alcohol consumption.


This is how many calories are in your drink:

  • 33 l beer: 125 kcal
  • 5 l beer: 200 kcal
  • 5 l light beer: 125 kcal
  • 5 l fruit cider: 235 kcal
  • 5 l cider no added sugar: 185 kcal
  • 1 glass (125 ml) red wine: 93 kcal
  • 1 glass (125 ml) white wine: 90 kcal
  • 1 glass (125 ml) rose wine: 86 kcal
  • 1 glass (125 ml) sparkling wine: 93 kcal


Moderation is key

You can enjoy alcohol and still lose weight. It is the amount you consume that will decide whether or not you lose weight. Having a glass or two of wine during the week is fine. What you need to remember about weight-loss and alcohol is those empty calories and the following cravings.

Four 0.5 l of beer is synonymous with 800 kcal, and you are likely to eat some nuts or chips on the side. This is high-energy snack. From time to time it is all fine, but if you want to lose weight you must be certain to consume less calories than you burn. By exchanging your beer to a light version, you can easily get rid of 200 kcal in the same amount. If you chose going with wine instead you will naturally decrease the number of units too, and two glasses of red wine adds up to 186 kcal. In just one night out you can get a quarter of the calorie amount solely based on the choice of alcoholic drink.

weight-loss and alcohol
Chips and snacks are common fellows when having alcohol. This adds to a larger calorie intake than you think of.