Alcohol & Fat Loss: Can they work together?

June 29, 2020

Most of us have come to enjoy a regular glass of red or pint of beer, whether with our meal or whilst socialising with friends.

It’s no newsflash that alcohol consumption is no good for our health and fitness. However, do not be discouraged, as it is possible to lose fat without completely abstaining from alcohol.

Studies have shown that the overconsumption of alcohol can affect your testosterone levels, which in turn makes it harder for your body to burn fat and build lean muscle efficiently.

Less muscle means a lower metabolic rate. A lower metabolic rate means your body is more likely to store fat – completely contradicting our goal.

Now, let’s briefly delve into the world of macronutrients

More commonly know as ‘macros’, macronutrients are broken into three main groups proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

A single gram from each of these groups has their own calorie count:

Proteins – 4 kcals

Carbohydrates – 4 kcals

Fats – 9 kcals, no surprises there!

Surprisingly enough, alcohol does not fall into one of these groups as it has its own calorie count a 7 kcals. Some people believe that alcohol is its own macro.

7 kcals, is that it?

Don’t be fooled, the number may seem low but these calories are ‘empty’. What that means is they have NO nutritional values to your body. Therefore, these calories cannot be used or stored and as a result your body must work hard to get rid of them.

Since you have sent your body into overdrive, that smart switchboard in our heads has diverted they key functioning of our metabolism needed for fat burning to processing our beer and wine.

Think of it this way, one night boozing for several hours effectively switches your metabolism off and opens the door to empty calories that is a lengthy process for your body to digest.

And it doesn’t stop there

Alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels, fooling us to believe we are hungry, when we might not be. Let’s be honest, after you have had a few, all responsible dietary restraints go out the window and what we want is junk food.  

There is more to it than just the Calories…

I know you didn’t think that was it for the negative effects of alcohol, but just in case you did, here are some additional adverse effects of alcohol:

• Dehydration – 60% of our body is water and we all know the importance of staying hydrated

• Sleep – boozy nights can be affecting your quality of sleep.

• Digestive system – which can become irritated by alcohol, resulting in additional stomach acids being created. In turn, can affect the digestion of food and nutrients.

• Disease – alcohol can increase your chances of many diseases including cancers and heart conditions.

• Unfavourable behaviours - In certain people the consumption of alcohol can induce some ‘interesting’ behaviours. It can be ‘ALAT’ (Act Like A Twat) for some.

If alcohol is a big part of your life, I highly suggest that you address this before any of the above undesired attributes take effect.

That being said…

We Can Drink Alcohol and Lose Fat

One of the key components of fat loss is a calorie deficit and how consistently you can maintain this.

Therefore, as simple math would have it, if you are consistently counting your calories and have accounted for those in your alcohol and managed to maintain a calorie deficit, then you will continue to lose fat.

Intrigued? Well, here are a few tips to help you moderate your alcohol intake:

• Food prep – have your food prepared for the next day so you don’t have to think about this or be tempted by junk food. Ensure it is full of nutrients and hydrating.

• 4-5 non-drinking days – Per week would be highly beneficial.

• Water – during your night out try having a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. This will help with hydration and make you feel fuller.

• Know your limit – understand your body and know when to stop!

• Water before bed – drink one glass of water before bed

• Dinner before drinks – ensure you have had a healthy nutritious meal before you start drinking. This can help curb your hunger later in evening.