Have you ever wondered how much alcohol you should consume if you are trying to lose weight?
While you may have heard that you should stay away from alcohol completely while trying to lose weight, I would not say that. Giving up alcohol completely is not the only way to lose weight, but if alcohol consumption is not approached in the right way, it can slow down your weight loss. Plus abstaining from alcohol or any type of food is not a sustainable lifestyle. What’s most important is moderation in everything.
If you would love to know how to find the right balance, read on as I give you some healthy tips on how to drink socially and still lose weight.
6 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Weight Loss
Whether or not you gain weight from alcohol depends on what you drink, how much you drink, how often you drink, what you eat when you drink, and your individual body and lifestyle.
Below are some reasons why alcohol can slow your weight loss.
- Alcohol serves as a primary fuel source
When you consume alcohol, the body first burns it as a fuel source before using glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats. And when this happens, the excess glucose and fats are unfortunately stored in our bodies as fat or adipose tissue.
- Alcohol contains "empty" calories
Calories from alcohol have no nutritional value and are therefore often referred to as "empty" calories. This means that they do not provide any nutrients to your body. Different alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of calories, and many of them are very high in sugar. If you consume several drinks at once, you may end up consuming a few hundred extra calories that your body does not need.
- Alcohol can lead to excess belly fat
Since some alcoholic beverages contain a lot of sugar and therefore, of course, a lot of calories, consuming alcohol can lead to rapid weight gain. Most of the time, the body stores the excess fat in the abdominal area.
- Alcohol affects your food choices
When you consume too much alcohol, you may find it difficult to make sound food choices. Now imagine what happens when you drink a lot!
Also, a recent study found that alcohol can trigger hunger signals in the brain, leading to increased food cravings.
- Alcohol can have a negative effect on your sleep
Research has shown that while alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, this effect wears off after just a few hours as your body tries to remove the alcohol from your body, and before you know it, you are awake again trying to find sleep.
- Alcohol can damage your organs
Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver and cause what is known as alcoholic fatty liver. The way the body metabolizes and stores fats and carbohydrates changes, and this change can make it difficult to lose weight.
How To Enjoy Alcohol Without Compromising Your Weight Loss
Despite all of the negative effects of alcohol mentioned above, I know that it can be difficult to completely give up a glass or two if you are a lover of alcohol. So here are a few ways you can enjoy your glass of alcohol without throwing your weight loss dreams overboard.
As we noted above, your body needs to use your fat as fuel if you want to lose weight. When you drink, here is what you should do:
- Stay on the path of moderation. It's helpful to set a drinking limit and stick to it before you go out or start drinking.
- Choose a healthier drink. Avoid drinks that contain a lot of sugar. Be sure to go for the best alcohol to drink if you’re trying to lose weight. Some studies suggest that alcohol may have health benefits. Red wine, for example, may lower your risk of heart disease.
- Drink water regularly - preferably between drinks- to stay hydrated and in control. If you drink water, you are less likely to feel the need to have another glass of alcohol.
- Make sure you do not skip a meal. Eat a healthy breakfast or dinner, because skipping food is not a good way to compensate for the calories consumed through alcohol. In fact, if you eat something good, you can reduce the amount of alcohol you end up consuming.
- Make sure you do not skip your usual workout before or after your night (your day).
Regardless of whether you want to lose weight or not, you should remember that excessive alcohol consumption not only leads to weight gain but also various other health risks. It is important that you watch how much alcohol you consume in order to stay healthy and fit at all times.