How Alcohol & Weight Loss Can be a Cocktail for Failure
Alcohol and weight loss; mortal enemies. Losing weight is a popular fitness goal for people all over the world; that much we know. Another thing we know is that a lot of us enjoy drinking alcohol, and that's not necessarily always an issue. The issue, however, is when the two are put together.
Something that's not particularly well known is why drinking alcohol and weight loss are not a good combination in any way, shape or form. There are more reasons than you might think behind it, too.
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As with any weight loss article, we'll start by talking about losing weight, form a general point of view at least. When you're trying to lose weight, the main thing to do is create a calorie deficit in your daily consumption.
Your maintenance calorie intake is the number you need to stay exactly where you are, and dieting and/or exercise can help bring total calorie consumption down in some way or another. When that happens at around 250 calories under maintenance per day, you should start to see good weight loss progress. That’s the absolute bottom line to it all. (For more information, check out our guide to the fundamentals of weight loss here).
Calories in Alcohol
So you are probably thinking, where does alcohol come into weight loss? Well, that’s the problem. Alcohol itself has a rather large number of calories involved. Per gram, it actually has 7 calories. To put that into perspective, a gram of carbohydrate or protein contains 4 calories, and a gram of fat contains 9. That means 7 is a lot, and that could be where the problem lies.
Calories in Drinks
Now that we know about alcohol in particular, what about what you're actually drinking? You're not just having pints of 100% alcohol after all. This is where things set even more tricky. Different drinks are served in different volumes and have different alcohol percentages. There’s no one rule you can apply to drinking. The odd pint won’t do much damage, and we’re not saying give up drinking if that’s what you enjoy.
The problem really lies in drinking too much and the effect that that has on weight loss; not the alcohol itself. Whether that's a few pints a few nights a week or a bottle of wine on the weekend, drinking large amounts of alcohol can really take its toll on your calorie consumption. What's even worse still, is that it's all empty calories too. That means it has little to no nutritional value (and drinks can have a lot of other things in them too, which can worsen the weight loss situation).
Tendencies When Drinking
The drinks themselves aren't just a problem when you're trying to lose weight and still drink alcohol either. This is where things get a little more conscious. Another issue when you're trying to manage your weight and drinking is that alcohol does tend to weaken your inhibitions, and weight loss is hard enough to stick to as it is for a lot of us. It's actually pretty famous for it.
Going to a takeaway after a night out or having a tonne of food to make you feel better with a hangover is not a new concept to most people. The issue is that most of the foods we have the tendencies to go for are just awful for our health. Fried and greasy foods become cravings, and that is a recipe for a lot more calories than we might have wanted to consume. It's easily done.
So we've looked at all of the issues that alcohol causes when we're trying to lose weight, but the question needs an answer, and it's not black and white. Here goes:
Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight?
Technically, yes, but it’s much, much harder
Drinking alcohol results in you having a lot more calories in your diet than you might anticipate or need if you're trying to create a calorie deficit for weight loss, and a lot of the time, it can counteract all of your hard work. That alone can ruin your progress and your motivation and make things even worse than they were before.
It’s still possible to lose weight and drink regularly, but only if you can maintain this calorie deficit, which is near impossible. Ultimately it is possible to lose weight, but it is so difficult to do that it’s not worth bothering.
As always, consume in moderation. Find the balance between quality of life, sustainable habits and good health.
If you’d like more information, check out this article at Drink Aware
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