Is Alcohol Bad for Weight Loss?

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s not just important from a vanity perspective, but 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 you have 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?

The following provides an overview of the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, and also what you should know about alcohol and weight loss.

Alcohol and Losing Weight | Is Alcohol Bad for Weight Loss?
So why is maintaining a healthy weight so important? Why is it one of the best things you can do for yourself?

Obesity is linked with so many of the most deadly health conditions including cardiovascular conditions, many types of cancer and diabetes. If you’re able to maintain a healthy weight, it can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and the risk of developing certain types of cancer. It can also reduce the risk of developing non-insulin dependent diabetes or help you control it if you already have it.

You’ll reduce the risk of infertility, boost your immune system and reduce the risk of mobility-related conditions such as joint pain and osteoporosis.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also help improve your quality of life. You’ll be better able to get the most from your life and cut the risk of premature death.

Limiting alcohol and losing weight are two concepts that go hand-in-hand. Drinking a limited amount of alcohol is important not only from a weight loss perspective but also because excessive drinking can increase your risk of developing many of the conditions highlighted above.

So just in terms of alcohol and losing weight, what should you know? Is alcohol bad for weight loss?

Alcohol use is such a part of our culture, and it’s so commonly done that we can tend to forget the risks that it carries with it. Of course, this doesn’t mean having an occasional glass of wine is terrible, but drinking excessively is linked to very real health concerns, including being overweight.

First, is alcohol bad for weight loss from a calorie perspective?

Yes, in simplest terms one of the reasons alcohol and losing weight often don’t go hand-in-hand with one another is because alcohol has a lot of calories, and these calories are empty, meaning they don’t have any nutritional value. You may be drinking hundreds of extra calories or more a day, without even realizing it. Alcohol itself has calories, and the things that alcohol is mixed with such as juices also have loads of calories and 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.

Alcohol has significantly more calories than healthy proteins as an example, and drinking too much can completely derail weight loss efforts.

There are other indirect reasons alcohol and losing weight don’t go together. First, 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 and weight loss are related, negatively, include:

  • If you’re drinking and then you don’t feel well the next day, you’re going to be less likely to physically active or exercise.
  • Drinking alcohol and weight loss don’t go well together because 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 will take you longer to lose weight.
  • Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in your body, and this is a hormone that’s important for losing weight and gaining lean muscle.
  • Not only does alcohol lower your inhibitions about the food choices you make, but it can also increase your appetite.
Alcohol and weight loss are important to think about. If you want to lose weight, you might need to cut out alcohol altogether to get the best results. 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 going to be more difficult.

Alcohol has calories, it changes the way your metabolism functions, and it lowers your inhibitions, so you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods.

If you are going to drink and you’re worried about alcohol and losing weight, do so in moderation and make sure that if you’re a woman, you’re not having more than one drink a day, and no more than two a day if you’re a man.

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.