Alcohol and weight is a subject relevant to millions of people who like to drink alcoholic beverages and who also either want to maintain or to lose body weight. It is uncertain whether alcohol leads to increase in body weight or if it does not. Some studies find an increase in body weight, some studies do not, and some find a small decrease among women who begin consuming alcohol. There has been a good amount of research over the last few years about the benefits of red wine and safe limits for alcohol consumption, but what about alcohol when youre trying to diet? The truth may be surprising to you.
Drinking alcohol, whether in the form of wine, liquor, or beer, can negatively affect weight loss. People who try to find the best diet but also drink alcohol have a harder time losing weight than those who do not drink at all. Here are some facts:
Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about 4 calories per gram) and only just under the caloric value for fat (9 calories per gram). This means that if you want to lose weight and reduce excess body fat, alcohol is not a good choice.
But how does alcohol make you fat?
The energy from alcohol cannot be stored so it must be oxidised and converted into energy for immediate use by the cells. While our body uses up all the alcohol circulating in the blood, the oxidation of fats, carbohydrates and protein becomes suppressed; because of this more of these macronutrients are forced into storage than under normal conditions without alcohol. Alcohol can make you fat in an indirect manner.
An Occasional Drink
If you want to add an occasional alcohol beverage to your weight loss or weight gain plan, you can add it your plan and consider that these are extra calories. Again, for weight loss, it will add up to extra calories that may slow your progress. You will need to increase your physical activity to make up for it!
Some evidence for this comes from research carried in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eight men were given two drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade separated by 30 minutes. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after consumption of the drink. For several hours after drinking the vodka, whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by a massive 73%.
Dont drink on a fat loss program. Although you could certainly drink and get away with it if you diligently maintained your calorie deficit as noted above, it certainly does not help your fat loss cause or your nutritional status. Although wine contains fewer calories than beer, this can also lead to extra calories. Having a glass of wine provides 100 calories, but this is dependent on the glass size. A serving size of wine is 5-ounces. The larger wine glasses hold about 10 ounces turning your one glass of wine into two glasses. To put this into perspective, drinking two glasses of wine each night with dinner will add an extra 200 calories each day. If these calories are not burned through exercise and daily activity it can lead to a 20 pound weight gain in a year.