Health and Fitness

The Relationship between Alcohol and Weight Loss

Here’s a few facts which might help you decide whether to raise your glass or drown your sorrows in it.


  • Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning carbs and fat, because it can’t store that energy for later, as it can with food. The body recognises the alcohol as an easy-to-use source of energy and places a metabolic priority on it – basically going into a holding pattern on its important jobs  (ie metabolising the energy from food) until it can deal with the processing of alcohol. The result is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat, as it has been queued behind the priority job of processing your alcohol.



  • If both the calories from the alcohol and the food you have eaten both don’t get burnt off the next day through exercise, then the body will take the energy it got from the food and store it as fat. And let’s face it, exercising the day after a big one is not always easy to face.


  • All glasses are not created equal – that goldfish- bowl sized “glass” of wine you are drinking (yes, I’m looking at you!)  is not what they mean on the label by “one glass”.  And what exactly are you drinking?  Get well acquainted with the label so you know your calories and what might be acceptable.  Hint: one glass max.


  • You know the equation calories in must be less than calories spent?  If you’re choosing to imbibe, remember the calories and energy in your wine counts towards your overall day’s intake, so you’ll need to factor in working off those calories, and finding a deficit in your food calories during the day.  Yes, you’ll need to forgo nutrient- dense food option that will fuel your body in exchange for your nutrient deficient glass of wine.


  • In addition to revving your appetite, drinking a certain amount of alcohol can also  make you lose your eating inhibitions, so your resolve to eat well also goes out the window.


  • And then, there’s the morning after. Ouch. If you’ve had a little too much, you’ll be dealing with hunger cravings for all the wrong things – the body needs energy to get over the effects of a big night out and settle the stomach, and will seek out rich sources of energy fatty, greasy food..  Put down that chip!


What if I just can’t say no?

Now, your health is your decision.  You’re in control of the choices you make every step of the way.  So, if you’re still determined to incorporate  “wine o’clock” in your day – here’s a few tips that might reduce its negative effects:


  • Before you go out, have dinner or a snack with protein, fibre, and healthy fat to stabilize your blood-sugar levels without slowing down your metabolism.


  • If you’re going to drink, have something simple like wine or beer.


  • One drink a day is the widely accepted definition of moderate drinking for women, but there’s a misconception that is finally getting a lot of media attention that you can go without alcohol all week and save your seven drinks for the weekend. That’s known as binging, which as well as being very dangerous for your health, is also the worst thing you can do for your weight, having a much more detrimental effect than a drink each day.


  • When you’re out, drink a big glass of water for every drink you have. Then, before going to bed, have some more, along with a high fibre, high protein snack  to fill you up and line your stomach with important nutrients.


  • If you normally chill out with a wine after a big day at work, consider trying to break the habit by keeping your hands or mouth busy (knitting; talking on the phone) or going for a walk, which has the added bonus of boosting your metabolism.


  • As with food, drink mindfully,  If you’re multi tasking, you could be slurping back much more than you’re aware of, and suddenly that glass is empty.  Maybe your partner had a sip or two?


  • Drinking wine before you eat has shown to increase appetite when consumed 30 minutes before eating, so save your wine for your meal.


  • Choose a glass size that won’t trick you into thinking you’re only having a splash.


  • Remove alcohol from your house so you’re not tempted to over drink, and then if you want to catch up with a friend over a drink, meet them out somewhere.  But don’t get into shouts – set your limit of one and then find an option such as lemon in soda water as your chaser.