Alcohol and Weight Loss: Does Drinking Slow Your Progress?
You may be under the impression that drinking beer will give you that notorious beer belly – and if you’re downing the booze with every meal, that notion may turn out to be true.
However, while it’s widely known that wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages can definitely pack on the extra calories with every meal, is it enough to completely ruin your diet?
Let’s take a closer look at the effects of alcohol and weight loss to see whether or not your drinking games are playing havoc with your weight loss results.
Myth: Drinking Alcohol Turns Everything You Eat into Fat
Truth: Drinking an extra glass of wine at dinner won’t automatically guarantee that your Chicken Alfredo will go straight to your thighs. However, you might want to exercise a little restraint with how much you indulge with every meal.
Your average alcoholic beverage is typically a combination of carbs, sugar, and ethanol, which is absorbed through the stomach lining and into your bloodstream faster than ordinary foods. The carbs and sugar take the digestive tract, while the ethanol is diverted to the liver.
When alcohol is digested, the liver sees the ethanol as a toxin, which requires your body to temporarily halt the processing of nutrients from the foods you’ve just eaten while it processes and eliminates the unhealthy chemicals first.
Consequently, your body ends up burning empty calories from Alcohol for energy – so your healthier appetizers of broccoli and garden salad end up on the on the back burner.
By the time your body gets around to digesting “the good stuff” it might not need the calories to sustain itself, which means it will store the excess glucose as fat.
Myth: You Can’t Lose Weight When You Drink Alcohol
Truth: As mentioned earlier, Alcohol doesn’t turn everything you eat into fat, but it definitely makes it a little more difficult to slim down if not consumed in small to moderate amounts.
On the flip side, this doesn’t mean that losing weight is impossible just because you imbibe every so often.
In a study featured in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers observed that women who had one or two alcoholic drinks daily were less likely to gain weight than those who abstained from the beverage – AND, they did it while consuming more calories than both heavy drinkers and teetotalers.
Although scientists have yet to figure out the exact link between alcohol and weight loss, Lu Wang, MD and PhD suspects “your body adjusts metabolically to the amount you drink, and when you don’t drink regularly, your body can’t adjust.”
Myth: To Stave Off Intoxication, You Should Drink Alcohol After Your Meal
Truth: Experts actually recommend consuming alcohol in conjunction with a healthy, balanced meal to take the edge off the effects of intoxication.
Foods high in fat content take longer to digest, which in turn, slows the rate of alcohol absorption, and may even ward off excess feelings of hunger that will leave you reaching for unhealthy foods.
However, there is a catch to drinking alcohol and eating at the same time. Because alcohol reduces inhibitions, if you struggle to say “no” to that extra slice of pizza when you’re sober, you’re not likely to hold firm when the drink is doing all the talking.