Picture this. You’re on a diet, you have cut out junk, processed, oily food, and basically every type of food that can ruin your diet and weight loss goals. Now you go out with friends and family and eat salad or nothing while they are having pizzas, burgers and whatnot. 

First things first, you have good self-control that you are not submitting to the temptations of having unhealthy food. But what about the can of beer and glass of whisky in your hand? 

Yes, little to your realisation, liquid calories count – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You can’t expect to have the same results you might have if you cut liquor from your diet. Liquor can affect your weight loss goals negatively, and we are not just talking about the calories, but other ways as well. 

What other ways, you may ask? Well, keep reading to find out.  

How alcohol affects your weight loss

Alcohol is often described as containing “empty” calories because there is minimal nutritional value in most alcoholic drinks. If you’re looking to drop those stubborn pounds, then you might want to consider cutting alcohol out altogether for a period of time. Alcohol can impact weight loss in several ways:

Reduced lipolysis:

Evidence from different studies has demonstrated that alcohol can temporarily reduce lipolysis (fat burning) by 73%. Once alcohol is in your bloodstream, it’s harder for your body to burn your stored body fat, pausing your weight loss.

Hidden caloric content:

Alcohol has a high-calorie content, including about 7 calories per gram. This is slightly less in calories per gram than fat (9 calories per gram) but greater than protein and carbs (4 calories per gram). Evidence suggests that alcohol consumption can lead to overeating episodes and increased energy (calorie) intake during or after episodes of drinking, which may impede your efforts to lose weight if it is not balanced out with other food and drink intake.

Absorption of nutrients:

Excessive alcohol ingestion can obstruct the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients. Since a healthy metabolism and energy levels are dependent on consuming enough nutrients, this may have an effect on overall health and even weight loss attempts.

Influence on appetite:

Alcohol intake at all levels can affect food choices and appetite. It can weaken inhibitions and cloud judgment, causing one to overindulge in food or choose bad options when under the influence of alcohol. 

Water retention:

Frequent heavy drinking and binge drinking have both been linked with transient water retention, which can induce bloating and a brief rise in weight. This is because alcohol has a diuretic impact, which can throw off the body’s fluid balance.

Sleep disturbance:

Drinking too much alcohol might cause sleep disturbances and increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles. Because it can alter hormone levels related to hunger and metabolism, inadequate sleep, both in terms of quality and length, has been associated with weight gain and difficulties in losing weight.

Liver functioning:

Drinking excessively and continuously over time can damage the liver and cause diseases like fatty liver disease. A damaged liver can affect metabolism in general and obstruct your weight loss goals. 

Increased levels of stress:

Studies show that alcohol intake increases the level of the hormone cortisol, which is known for promoting fat around the abdomen. So, if you want to minimise fat around the middle, keeping your cortisol level in check is key to potential weight gain.

Closing thoughts

Although a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been clearly shown by studies, it is generally agreed that drinking more alcohol than is considered moderate can lead to weight gain.

It’s crucial to remember that for many people, moderate alcohol use may not have a substantial effect on overcoming their weight challenges. On the other hand, regular or excessive alcohol consumption might harm one’s general health and ability to lose weight. When using alcohol in a weight loss program, moderation and conscious consumption are important factors to take into account.

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