Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being overweight can cause you to be at risk for extremely serious health conditions that can cut your life short.

There are some obvious ways to maintain a healthy weight, like cutting calories and getting more exercise, but what about the less apparent lifestyle factors and habits that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

One example is alcohol and losing weight. Is alcohol bad for weight loss? Is it possible to drink alcohol and lose weight? Here’s what you should know about alcohol, weight loss and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.

Why Alcohol Bad is Weight Loss

Alcohol use is such a common part of our culture that we can forget the risks that it carries with it. Drinking excessively is linked to very real health concerns, including being overweight.

Empty Calories: First, alcohol is bad for weight loss from a calorie perspective. In the simplest terms, one of the reasons alcohol and losing weight often don’t go hand-in-hand is because alcohol has a lot of empty calories, which means they don’t have any nutritional value. 

You may be drinking hundreds of extra calories per day without even realizing it. While the alcohol itself has calories, common mixers like juices or soda also have loads of calories as well as sugar and carbs. You may be eating a generally healthy diet, but if you’re not seeing results, it may because of your alcohol intake.

Lower Inhibitions: There are other indirect reasons that alcohol and losing weight don’t go together. For example, when you drink, it lowers your inhibitions, which means you might reach for those extra slices of pizza when you wouldn’t ordinarily. You’re going to be paying less attention to what and how you’re eating, and that’s just one problematic part of alcohol and weight loss.

Some other ways alcohol can negatively impact weight loss:

  • If you’re drinking and then you don’t feel well the next day, you’re going to be less likely to be physically active or exercise.
  • Alcohol can change the way your body burns fat. When you drink, your body is more focused on breaking down alcohol rather than burning fat. Also, instead of burning fat, your body is burning the calories from the alcohol, so it can take you longer to lose weight.
  • Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in your body, and this is a hormone that affects weight loss and gaining lean muscle.
  • Not only does alcohol lower your inhibitions about the food choices you make, but it can also increase your appetite.

Summing Up—Is Alcohol Bad for Losing Weight?

If you’re trying to lose weight, your alcohol use is important to think about. If you want to lose weight, you might need to cut out alcohol altogether to get the best results. 

  • Alcohol and its mixers have empty calories
  • It changes the way your metabolism functions
  • It lowers your inhibitions, so you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods

You may be able to eventually reintroduce alcohol in moderation once you’ve reached your goal weight, but if you continue to drink, shedding pounds is likely going to be more difficult.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.