Humans have always had a pretty friendly relationship with alcoholic beverages (excluding a 13 year block of time starting the 1920s when the US implemented prohibition).
There’s just something about a cocktail that helps us unwind, access social lubrication, and (according to some medical studies) may even provide a host of health benefits.
At the same time, new research is showing that there is a real link between alcohol and weight loss results that those looking to build a beach body and enjoy happy hour aren’t going to be excited about. Folks looking to melt a few extra pounds before summer rolls around may want to consider skipping out on their evening glass of wine or beers on the weekend during football.
Alcohol and Metabolism
According to independent research coming out of the United States and the United Kingdom alcohol has a less than ideal impact on your body’s ability to melt fat and build lean muscle mass.
While alcohol has long been considered to be something to skip when you are looking to bulk up (because of its protein synthesis blocking impact on the body) for a while fitness enthusiasts and nutritionists thought a couple of drinks actually would help them lose weight.
You see, alcohol has an ability to increase overall metabolic activity. The body ramps up your metabolism to move it out of your system as fast as possible and this challenges your metabolism to ramp things up a bit.
Unfortunately, that improved metabolic activity isn’t going to help you overcome the other handicaps that alcohol brings to the table when you are looking to lose weight. Alcohol and weight loss metabolism results just don’t go hand-in-hand.
Nutritional Value of Alcohol
One of the biggest reasons people are advised to stay away from alcohol when looking to lose weight is because of the empty calories that alcohol brings to the table. Every alcohol source includes at least 7 cal per gram – which is a lower calorie count than dietary fats but a higher dietary count than carbs and protein.
This means that just a single shot of alcohol is going to include anywhere between 80 to 90 cal (on average). Cocktails and beer can bump that up to 200 cal or more per glass.
On top of that, you’re also looking at quite a bit of sugar and carbohydrates mixed into most popular cocktails, mixed drinks, and especially beer. It isn’t at all unreasonable to believe that all of the increased metabolic activity caused by alcohol is going to be canceled out – and then some – by the way extra calories you consume.
Some wonder “is alcohol a macronutrient” but we can tell you conclusively that it is not, though it is loaded with carbohydrates because of the sheer amount of sugar you can find in pretty much every alcoholic beverage imaginable.
Reducing Alcohol Cravings
This is why if you’re serious about losing weight, cutting fat, and getting a beach body ready to rock and roll you’ll want to make sure that you figure out how to reduce alcoholic cravings naturally ASAP.
The cold turkey approach to giving up alcohol (at least while cutting) is one way to go, but you might also want to consider weaning yourself off of your favorite alcoholic beverages by drinking only on weekends, then only on every other weekend, and that not drinking at all during your cut process.
Plenty of people have also had fantastic results curbing alcoholic cravings by flooding themselves with extra water on a day-to-day basis. When you aren’t thirsty (and are even borderline drinking water to access) the cravings for alcohol are going to slide by the wayside.
Best Alcoholic Drinks on a Diet
Of course, abstinence isn’t the only way to a slimmer and healthier you.
There are definitely some alcoholic beverages you can drink while on your weight loss journey, as long as you understand that you are going to be slowing your progress somewhat as you move forward.
The best diet alcoholic drinks for weight loss include (but definitely aren’t limited to):
- Vodka, with only 100 cal in each 1.5 ounce shot
- Whiskey, with 100 cal in each 1.5 ounces shot
- Gin, with 115 cal in each 1.5 ounces shot
- Tequila, with 100 cal in each 1.5 ounce shot
- Brandy, with 100 cal in each 1.5 pounds shot
It’s a good idea to take those shots straight up without mixing them into any cocktails or chasers. That’s when you really start to ramp up the calorie count of each alcoholic beverage, start to add more carbs and more sugar, and derail your weight loss results faster than you would have thought possible.
You also want to be pretty skeptical of light beers that promise to be friendlier on a weight loss diet than traditional beer. You might be able to speed up your weight loss process a little bit with light beer versus traditional beer, but it isn’t going to be anywhere near as much of an advantage drinking light beer as you think.
Alcohol (all alcohol) is going to do a number on your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your blood sugar, and your overall testosterone count. You’ll want to make sure that you consider the impact consuming alcohol and weight loss results will have on your specific body transformation journey to figure out if this is something you need to abstain from for a while or not.