A very hot topic related to weight loss is the subject of alcohol.
I get some version of this question probably once per week:
“Can I lose weight and still drink booze?”
If you enjoy beer, wine, or a mixed drink, and you’ve ever tried to lose weight or drop body fat… you might be wondering the very same thing.
Here’s my answer:
First let’s start with guidelines on alcohol for health:
Below are the guidelines for moderate alcohol consumption, as reported by the Mayo Clinic:
→ For women of all ages & Men over 65 years of age, up to 1 drink per day.
→ For men age 65 or younger, up to 2 drinks per day.
What is “one drink” you ask??
Examples of one drink include:
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
- Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
For weight loss, there’s a little more nuance.
The more informative answer lies within the details, so let’s lay out some facts.
- Alcohol is a form of sugar, pure and simple. You must view consuming alcohol as consuming sugar.
- Alcohol has zero nutrient value or health benefit…. The 1 important exception to this is the consumption of 4-6oz of red wine daily, which has been proven to have cardiovascular benefits.
- Consumption of alcohol clouds proper decision making & lowers inhibitions.
We can all agree on that, right?!
Ok… so that leads to some answers about being able to lose weight while consuming alcohol.
→ For BEST and most effective results, don’t drink alcohol. There’s no confusion or potential for slippery slope.
→ Following the daily recommended moderate drink guidelines provided by the Mayo Clinic can still result in weight loss, as long as calories in stay lower than calories out.
→ If you can stick to the guidelines AND can avoid the slippery slope of 1 drink turning into 3, which turns into 6, which turns into a whole pizza or Chinese food at 3am on a Saturday…. Then you can likely keep that in your nutritional profile successfully.
→ If you ha
ve the recommended 1-2 drinks every day, 7 days per week… you’ll see weight loss results happen at a certain pace
→ If you have the recommended 1-2 drinks only a few times per week… you’ll see weight loss results happen a lot quicker.
BOTTOM LINE: drinking alcohol in moderation, as part of an otherwise well-balanced and calorically appropriate nutrition plan is fine for a person who wants to lose weight.
The problems arise when improper limitations are placed on quantity, and when binge drinking leads to consumption of unhealthy food items.
The less you drink, the quicker and more effectively you’ll lose weight…. The more you drink, the more potential for weight loss to slow, stall, or even go backwards.