It’s on every New Year’s resolution list: I will lose weight. But even before the celebration ends, you’re halfway through your fourth glass. The yearly resolution then turned into a daily promise but so does the “harmless” nightcap of alcoholic beverages. You ate healthily and hit the gym but when you stepped on the scale it didn’t budge one bit. What could have gone wrong?
Here are the ways that alcohol can sabotage a well-planned weight loss goal.
1. Compromised metabolic and fat-burning processes
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition people “who consumed less than an ounce of alcohol over a 30-minute time period reduced their body’s ability to burn fat by 73 percent”. The science behind it? When alcohol enters the bloodstream, the body recognizes it as a toxin that it needs to get rid of ASAP. Alcohol becomes the “priority fuel” so the body will now focus all its metabolic efforts on breaking down alcohol instead of burning fats. On the back burner, goes the excess fats and carbohydrates.
2. Greater hunger, less satiety
Alcohol triggers hunger signals in the brain. This results in increased food cravings which then leads to bingeing and overeating. So when a person has too much to drink, it shoots up the appetite for high-fat, high-calorie foods which might not be a very good choice if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Heavy drinking also loosens inhibitions and hampers logical judgment so the likelihood of reaching out for something sugary, fatty, and unhealthy becomes too irresistible.
A study in the UK also backs up the claim: ” People who had the equivalent of two drinks with food ate 30 percent more than those who didn’t” and “it takes people longer to feel full if they drank alcohol before a meal” according to Dutch research. Therefore, think before you drink.
3. High calorie, zero nutritional value
Alcohol is the farthest thing from nutrition. It contains empty calories and offers no nutritional intake at all. Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD of Fitter Living sheds a clear light on this: “Alcohol not only causes a water weight increase, but it’s also full of calories, so your actual weight can go up, too”.
Aside from its poor nutritional value, alcohol also ” irritates your gastrointestinal tract, and can damage your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the food you eat”. Impaired digestion and absorption are disruptive and it adversely affects the body’s metabolic process which plays a heavy role in weight management. Cue bloat, belly fat, and beer belly.
So does this mean that you can’t drink when you’re on a weight watch? Definitely, not. Weight loss can still be achieved even when drinking. The trick is to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. While some adult beverages like craft beer, frozen beach drinks, and cocktails may contain more calories, there are actually a few 100-calorie options that might be a better alternative like wine, champagne, vodka, or other unmixed spirits.
If your main goal is to achieve a healthy weight, it doesn’t hurt to drink in moderate quantities. After all, a healthy body is a healthy mind. Go ahead and enjoy that glass of bubbly but know when to stop. If you need a little help, support, or professional therapy, Heal@Home is a confidential and safe online platform in which you can seek refuge. It offers a unique alcohol therapy program that allows treatment in the comfort and security of your own home. Heal@Home also has professional counselors who can provide the best support you need and deserve. We’re not anti-alcohol, we’re pro-moderation.