How Alcohol Can Affect Weight Loss
September 29, 2023
You want to reach your weight loss goals and feel better in your own skin, but you also want to enjoy life and socialize with your friends. How can you have a drink at a social event and still work towards your goals?
Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight?
The simple answer? Yes! You can still work towards your goals while enjoying your social events!
Alcohol impacts weight loss in two ways – first, some alcohol contains carbohydrates, and consuming extra carbohydrates can slow down your weight loss. We’ll explore which types of alcohol are carb-free below.
Regardless of the alcohol you choose, all alcohol will decrease your fat burning potential. Fat burn and alcohol detoxification both happen in your liver. Your liver can only process one thing at a time, and because alcohol is a toxin, it always takes priority over fat.
Each drink (1 oz liquor or equivalent) takes your body about 4-8 hours to process through the liver, and while your body is processing the alcohol, it cannot burn fat. That means, if you have 2 drinks a week, you could lose up to 16 hours of your potential fat burning time. With 168 hours in a week, are 2 drinks impactful? We say no! Enjoy those 2 drinks if you’d like!
However, what happens if you begin to drink more regularly? What about 2 drinks 4x per week? Now, your liver will be processing alcohol for up to 64 hours, which is almost 40% of your week. Now, your maximum weight loss that week has dropped by almost half!
Alright, you understand how alcohol impacts your weight loss, and can make an educated choice on how much to drink. Now let’s talk about what to drink.
Most liquors contain no sugar of carbohydrates! We’re talking vodka, whiskey, gin, scotch, brandy, tequila, and even rum. Even though these alcohols are made with sugar, the sugar content is fully converted to ethanol during the distilling process. Avoid anything honeyed or flavored, as those are likely to contain added sugars. And, don’t trust the nutrition facts online.
Beware of sugary mixers, and stick to soda water, lemon or lime, and fresh herbs. Using Zevia, tea, or coffee as a mixer are other great options! Check out our recipe portal for more cocktail suggestions.
Wine contains carbohydrates! The lower alcohol content means that the grape sugars have not fully been converted to ethanol. Your average 5oz pour of wine contains about 4 grams of carbohydrates. This is the same for any dry red, white, or sparkling wine!
We love wine for weight maintenance, but for weight loss. If you love wine, we recommend the low sugar wines from Dry Farm Wine!
Beer tends to be the most carbohydrate dense form of alcohol. Different types of beers tend to vary in carbohydrates, and nutrition facts are often challenging to find or verify.
Overall, IPA’s tend to have the highest carbohydrate content around 18-20g carbs. Lagers, for example, Corona Extra tend to be around 12g carbs. Today, we have several beers that market themselves as lower-carbohydrate options, and while we recommend avoiding beer entirely, if you are planning to drink beer, we recommend one of the lower carb options.
Bud Light Next is the lowest carbohydrate beer, with 0g carbs. It’s currently the only 0 carb beer on the market – although we expect it won’t be long until more breweries come out with their own zero-carb option!
Some great mixers you can use:
- Zevia soda in a glass
- Lime or lemon water
How much is too much?
While enjoying alcoholic beverages may not stop your weight loss, having too many can slow your weight loss. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks (or 1-2 oz of liquor) in order to really see those results continue!
Our coaches at Awaken180° Weightloss are also a great support system! We can hold you accountable with our weekly meetings and make sure you stay on track! We can also give you good alternatives to enjoy while on program. Our goal is to see you hit your goals!
Looking for the support system you need to lose weight, get great nutrition advice on the way, and live a healthier life? Contact us today!