Alcohol and Calories

Strictly analyzing calorie content, different alcoholic beverages can vary quite a bit, with a 12-ounce lite beer providing about 100 calories to a 4-ounce daiquiri containing about 216, with a boat load of sugars to boot.  Research has shown about a 20% increase in calories consumed during a meal when alcohol was consumed before the meal; an average 33% total increase when the extra alcohol calories were added in.

Metabolic Effect

But, calories aside, the metabolic effects can also be detrimental to weight loss.  When alcohol is consumed, digested, and begins to be metabolized in the liver, the body will put a halt to other metabolic processes and focus its attention on detoxification of the alcohol in the liver.  Not something most people with weight loss goals would view as ideal.   Alcohol also typically will cause a lowering of inhibitions; this more relaxed state usually leads to consumption of foods one would strive to avoid when practicing discipline.  The way alcoholic drinks also play with blood lipid and sugar levels also leads to increased cravings for savory, fatty foods.

Alcohol and Weight Management

If alcohol is a main contributor to weight gain, it typically, especially in men, encourages storage of excess adipose tissue in the abdominal region.  You have most likely heard of this being referred to as a ‘beer belly’.  The abdominal adipose tissue is very inflammatory and being so, can release inflammatory cytokines which encourages further widespread inflammation throughout the body.  Inflammation is linked to increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and elevated blood lipids.


All this being said, of course, we are not saying one needs to avoid alcohol all together in order to lose weight and live healthfully.  When consumed in moderation, meaning 1-4 drinks a week, typically, it can definitely remain part of your diet and lifestyle.  Everyone tolerates it differently; you just need to find out what works for you.