Alcoholic beverages are obviously not a product that we will associate with a healthy diet and weight loss. Probably everyone knows about the effects of alcohol on the human body. However, not everyone knows about the effects of alcohol on body weight. Does alcohol make you lose or gain weight?
In fact, there are completely different opinions about how alcohol and excess weight are related to each other (and whether they are related at all). The fact that alcoholic beverages are high in calories is an indisputable fact, but some claim that alcohol itself “kills” calories and prevents their absorption, while others, on the contrary, believe that alcohol abuse can cause excess weight.
Also read: How much sleep do you need to lose weight?
How does alcohol affect your weight?
Alcohol, more precisely ethanol, a type of alcohol contained in beer, wine and spirits, is not a pleasure devoid of calories. It contains exactly 7 calories per gram. In addition to alcohol, most drinks also contain a significant proportion of sugar which is either a natural ingredient in drinks, as in wine, or appears as an ingredient in cocktails, such as margaritas and daiquiri.
It is known that regular, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can lead to extra pounds. One English study found that people who regularly drank more than 2 drinks (30 grams of alcohol) a day gained more pounds than their moderate friends per glass. Two drinks a day do not seem to bring extra pounds and if a person has no problems with addiction, they do not pose a danger to the body.
Moderate alcohol consumption of up to two drinks a day also has benefits because it is associated with a lower risk of death in people between the ages of 35 and 69 and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Protection against heart disease appears to be related to a variety of factors that include the following: increased HDL (good cholesterol), increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, reduced risk of blood clotting, decreased blood fat (triglycerides), and possible lowering of blood pressure.
The controversial point that arises is the role of moderate drinking in weight control. Thanks to many examples of intemperance, alcohol is often associated with the “beer belly”. Nevertheless, scientific evidence confirms that responsible and moderate drinking can actually help control weight as well as weight loss. Although the evidence is contradictory, alcohol appears to improve the body’s ability to regulate weight through a variety of processes.
Can alcohol make you gain weight?
Alcohol can cause weight gain simply because it contains calories. In fact, one drink contains not only ethanol, but also additives to achieve better taste and color. They are mostly full of carbohydrates and sugars. In addition, the more% pure alcohol contains, the more calories it contains.
Alcoholic beverages also block the metabolism, which is why you later have a problem with the processing and breakdown of fats. Therefore, calories from alcohol are considered empty. This means that they have no nutritional value and do not contain nutrients useful for healthy metabolism.
Here are some other reasons why does alcohol make you gain weight:
- Alcohol reduces self-control and increases appetite, which leads to overeating.
- Alcohol interferes with liver function and slows down the metabolic process. The liver must concentrate on processing alcohol, instead of processing other substances that enter the body through food. Fats are absorbed much faster, leading to weight gain.
- Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration. The body, on the other hand, feeling the lack of fluid, begins to accumulate it, as a result of which the weight can increase.
- Alcoholic beverages are very high in calories: one gram can contain up to 7 kcal. For comparison, a gram of fat contains approximately 9 kcal. Thus, drinking a glass of wine, we get about 125 kcal, and a bottle of beer – 250 kcal.
Can alcohol make you lose weight?
Interestingly, not everyone agrees that alcohol on a diet can make weight loss more difficult, quite the opposite. Despite the obvious arguments against alcohol, it is fair to say that alcoholic beverages in reasonable quantities can be useful. In moderate use alcohol can make you lose weight.
Alcohol metabolism, with regular (moderate) use, is believed to contribute to the weight loss process. Thus, a study of 19,220 women published in 2010 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine showed that alcohol intake did not affect body weight. The authors came to that conclusion after nearly 13 years of monitoring healthy women with modest to moderate alcohol intake.
40% of them completely stopped drinking alcohol, 33% drank several times a week, 20% – once a day, 6% – 2 times a day and 3% – 3 times a day or more. The duration of the experiment was as much as 13 years. At that time, most of the participants were gaining weight. At the same time, women who did not drink alcohol gained more weight than those who drank. As a result, the thinnest were women who drank alcoholic beverages no more than 2 times a day.
As a result, participants who consumed about 15-30 grams of alcohol per day weighed 30% less than those who refused alcohol. By consuming 5 to 15 grams of alcohol per day, the risk of being overweight is reduced by 24% so we can say that alcohol does make you lose weight.
Additionally, a study published in 2011 in the journal Nutrition Reviews found that moderate alcohol consumption, especially wine, even protects against the accumulation of extra pounds. However, the consumption of spirits can still contribute to weight gain.
Does alcohol cause belly fat?
Because the liver perceives alcohol as a poison, alcohol metabolism always takes precedence. In other words, no matter when you drink, your body will first “deals” with the breakdown of alcohol, and only then with other substances. As a result, your body does not use fats and carbohydrates for energy and causes belly fat both in men and women.
This does not mean that the weight loss process stops if you are on a diet, but that it is delayed. This is confirmed by a paper published in 2005 in the journal Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, which points out that alcohol intake prevents the breakdown of fats and can encourage weight gain. Unused fat is then most often stored in the abdomen, which is why the name “beer belly” is widespread.
How does alcohol redistribute fat?
Alcohol consumption causes hormonal changes that include decreased testosterone, and increased conversion of testosterone and other aromatizing androgens to estrogen. This results in increased estrogen levels, which in turn aid in fat storage, gynecomastia, and fluid retention.
The influence of phytoestrogens (analogs of female hormones) reduces testosterone levels, the male body changes according to the female type. Fat accumulates on the abdomen, thighs and breasts.
Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?
If you want to lose weight, shape a beautiful figure and at the same time improve your body, you will have to forget about alcohol. Of course, you can find many diets on the Internet that allow the use of alcohol. For example, there is the “Actors Diet,” which allows for the use of dry wine and a beer-based diet.
Such diets really help in losing weight, because the number of calories received when they are respected is very limited. But nutritionists disapprove of them because of the damage they can do to the body. The same amount of calories can be obtained from other, less unhealthy foods.
If during the diet you still want to allow yourself a little alcohol, then you should not give preference to the most caloric drinks and drink them more than in moderation. You can’t drink alcohol and also lose weight fast.
The most caloric alcoholic beverages are various sweet liqueurs. They must be completely eliminated from your diet. Sometimes you can afford dry wine, but no more than a glass or 50 grams of strong drink, such as vodka, brandy or whiskey.
You should also choose the lowest calorie snack. You can eat lean fish or any seafood, such as mussels or squid. For those who do not like fish, you can recommend lean meat, preferably chicken fillet.
Does binge drinking make you fat?
If you ever thought you were a little heavier after going out, by weighing yourself after a night of drinking you can see that you were unfortunately right. Nearly 60 percent of people get drunk at least once a week, and such things can very easily ruin a good line.
You are consuming almost three times more calories than usual which leads to weight gain from weekend drinking alcohol.
This was confirmed by a study by the British weight loss organization Slimming World, conducted on as many as two thousand people.
During one party night, men consume 1,795 calories with alcohol and 3,126 with food, while on the second day, due to a hangover, they add another 2,025 calories to that figure. In that way, they consume about 6946 calories, which is a huge number.
In this way, women consume as much as 5725 calories, which is almost three times more than the recommended daily intake, and it is equal to 38 bags of chips or 20 donuts filled with jam.
Alcohol is not only to blame for this kind of loading of calories and consequently weight gain, but also excessive eating due to hangovers.
So the answer on can a night of drinking make you gain weight is yes.
How much weight can you lose by quitting drinking?
How much weight can you lose by not drinking alcohol depends on how much you drank, as well as on your general activity levels and diet. Over a period of several months and years you can lose from half a kg to 50 kg. Simply giving up one light beer a day will help you lose more than 5 kg during the year, provided you do not replace those calories with other foods. Adjust your daily calorie intake and energy levels to lose between half and one kg per week.
How quickly will you lose weight if you stop drinking alcohol?
Two weeks to one month later with no alcohol, weight loss is noticed. Many people begin to notice that their waist began to thin and that they lost weight, depending on how much they drank before.
After two weeks, the amount of fat in the liver also decreases by 15 percent.
Which alcohol does not make you fat?
If you have been wondering which alcohol is best for fat and weight loss, we will have to disappoint you and tell you that such alcohol does not exist.
In addition to its high caloric content, alcohol negatively affects processes in the human body, such as nutrient absorption and energy expenditure. Namely, unlike other nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), the human body cannot store alcohol, and the elimination of alcohol from the body is a process that slows down all other processes because the body gives it an advantage.
Therefore, when choosing alcoholic beverages, if you cannot avoid them, choose those that have the lowest possible caloric value.
Here is a list of 10 known alcoholic beverages and their caloric value:
- 25 ml/1 glass of whiskey – 50 kcal
- 25 ml/1 cup of vodka – 55 kcal
- 125 ml/1 cup gin and tonic – 85 kcal
- 125 ml/1 glass of red wine – 90 kcal
- 330 ml/1 can of beer – 150 kcal
- 125 ml/1 glass of champagne (12.5%) – 95 kcal
- 25 ml/1 cup of cognac – 110 kcal
- 125 ml/1 glass of white wine – 118 kcal
- 50 ml/1 cup of liqueur (Baileys) – 165 kcal
- 240 ml/1 glass of alcoholic cocktail Margarita – 455 kcal
From the above table, do not mistakenly conclude that whiskey is the least caloric drink, because the stated value refers to only 25 ml of this well-known drink. According to the ratio of quantity and calories, beer is an alcoholic beverage with the least calories.
Use this alcohol weight loss calculator to help you lose weight or just quit drinking.
Best alcohol for weight gain
Calories are much more concentrated than food if you drink an average alcoholic beverage. Moreover, alcohol is liquid, easier to swallow and takes up less space. It is quickly absorbed along with the unfortunate calories. Here we add calories from the appetizer and the “cocktail” is ready in much more calories than the daily norm.
The caloric value of alcoholic beverages is not negligible. If you are wondering does, vodka, wine, whiskey, or beer make you fat, take a look at their caloric value:
- Vodka, 0.03 L = 64 kcal
- Red wine 0.1 L = 83 kcal
- White wine, 0.1 L = 82 kcal
- Whiskey 0.03 L = 75 kcal
- Beer 0.33 L = 142 kcal
Does vodka make you gain weight?
Contains ethyl alcohol and water, strength 40%. A 50 ml glass contains 110 kcal. Low-quality vodka contains fusel oils, essences, aromas, softeners. The energy value of 100 ml of vodka is greater than 100 g of fatty meat, chicken, 10 times more than 100 g of tomatoes, twice as much as boiled potatoes.
Despite that, there is no weight gain in vodka. These are “empty” calories, which are not converted into fats, proteins and carbohydrates during decomposition. And weight increases with a set of muscle mass (proteins) or layers of fat. The end products of ethyl decomposition are water and carbon dioxide.
To process C2H5OH, the body consumes energy, notorious calories. So it turns out that the calories received are “empty” and that their own energy supply is being wasted.
But these figures reflect the consumption of pure alcohol, which is why chronic alcoholics are thin. They drink vodka without enough snacks that are created to compensate for energy and weight which makes them lose weight.
Does red or white wine make you gain weight?
Is wine making me fat? You probably ask yourself that question because you heard that wine can help in weight loss, but is that the truth?
Wine will do no less harm than fortified drinks. The only difference is in the amount and timing of the development of alcohol dependence, but it is definitely impossible to lose weight. Although they do not gain weight as quickly as vodka or beer.
A glass of wine is about the size of a portion of chocolate ice cream. In a glass (125 ml) of dry wine – 70 kcal, in fortified wine with the addition of ethyl – 100 kcal. In addition, dry varieties contain 0.3% sugar, semi-dry varieties contain 1-2%, and semi-sweet varieties 3-8%. Dry white wine is most suitable for those who are afraid of gaining weight.
Does tequila make you gain weight?
There have been studies that have shown potential health benefits in the agave plant from which tequila is made. One of the health benefits is helping in weight loss.
However, this study talks about agave plant and its sugars, called agavins, but the drink itself doesn’t have any benefits and does not help in weight loss. No studies have found direct benefits of drinking tequila in humans.
Does beer make you fat?
Beer is a special item. In general, beer, although a product with low alcohol content, is a high-calorie drink, on average its calorie content ranges from 35 to 60 kcal. Therefore, a half-liter bottle of beer is a source of 200-300 kcal. But beer lovers are often not limited to one bottle so beer does make you gain weight. Drinking beer will definitely cause weight gain, hence the “beer belly”.
Does alcohol make you bloated?
In addition to weight gain, alcohol can also lead to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, which also causes bloating.
Alcohol is a substance that tends to cause various inflammations in the body, as well as swelling. If you like cocktails, the consequences of consuming them can be much worse due to drinks that are often mixed with alcohol, such as sweet and carbonated liquids, which can lead to increased gas, bloating and general discomfort.
After drinking alcohol, you may notice bloating, especially on the face, which is often accompanied by redness. This happens because alcohol dehydrates the body. When the body is dehydrated, the skin and vital organs try to retain as much water as possible, which leads to swelling of the face and other areas in the body.
How to lose alcohol weight?
if you want to prevent unwanted weight gain while drinking alcohol, a practical tip is to treat it like any other junk food.
That means you could:
- Eat fewer calories over the day to make space for alcohol.
- Move and burn more calories over the day to make space for alcohol.
- Avoid eating foods while you’re drinking alcohol.
- Avoid grabbing the greasiest foods you can find after drinking alcohol.
- Be more active during a night out to burn more calories.
But the best way to lose alcohol weight is to quit drinking and embrace healthy habits. Eat healthily and start working out, this is the only way to lose weight properly. We can’t specify something more because there’s no single “fit-for-all” program for weight loss.
Today, it is clear that in addition to the type of alcoholic beverage, other factors are important for body weight. According to a paper published in 2010 in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the frequency of alcohol consumption is of great importance.
Thus, in people who almost never drink or those who drink significant amounts every day, alcohol is conducive to weight gain. It’s similar to weekend binges. However, in people who moderately enjoy drinks such as wine or beer, a beneficial effect on weight is possible. This means if you drink a glass of wine every day and while on a diet you can enjoy this habit. But if you do not drink or drink infrequently during the diet do not ingest alcohol. If you drink too much, it’s time to quit for much more important reasons than body weight.
It has been proven that people who abuse alcohol, in most cases, are prone to gaining weight. However, it is currently impossible to completely dispel all the myths about the link between alcohol and being overweight.
Scientists have not yet been able to determine the reason for such a reaction of the body to alcohol and how does alcohol affect obesity. Why alcohol in certain quantities contributes to weight loss, and with its more or less use, the risk of gaining weight is still a mystery.
Either way, if you don’t touch on the topic of weight loss, the negative effect of alcohol on the whole body as a whole remains a proven fact, so of course, you shouldn’t abuse such drinks.
Also read: 12 best weight loss activities
Irena is a dentist from Croatia, working extensively in her field, but she also has a high interest in the fields of fitness, nutrition and medicine in general. She has been educating herself about how to lead a healthy lifestyle for years. She seeks to help people adopt healthy habits as well as healthy and positive thinking about life. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, plays saxophone and guitar, and develops her own websites – Salubrius Vita and GoalDigger. Her life motto is: When they expect a lot from you, you do even more.