Alcohol and Weight Loss

Drinking alcohol, whether in the form of wine, liquor, or beer, can negatively affect weight loss. People who drink alcohol generally have a harder time losing weight. Here are some facts:

The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a Swiss study showing that if you’re on a 1,250 calorie diet and get just 250 of those calories from alcohol, it can slow your metabolism by 36%.

Alcohol consumption inhibits fat burning. Alcohol and fat are both processed in the liver. When the liver is processing alcohol, it doesn’t effectively metabolize fat.

Adding to the problem is the fact that alcohol is a depressant. Although you may initially feel better after drinking alcohol, the ultimate effect is a depression, which has a negative effect on the dieter overall.

Alcohol can negatively affect exercise; it decreases the liver’s output of glucose, resulting in the lowering of the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) entering the cells. ATP is the fuel for muscle contraction and immediate bursts of energy. Alcohol also increases fatigue, promotes difficulty in regulating body temperature, and dehydrates the body.

Alcohol is a sugar and can trigger carbohydrate cravings and hunger. Alcohol also decreases a person’s resolve to adhere to their weight control program. In addition, people often snack or eat in combination with drinking alcohol.

Beyond the amount of carbohydrates, alcohol contains calories that can interfere with weight loss. In addition, the calories from alcohol are often referred to as “empty,” since they lack useful nutrients and minerals. For example, a five-ounce glass of wine contains approximately 110 calories, which represents 10% of a 1,000 calorie diet “budget”.