For many people, alcohol helps us relax and unwind or even let loose on a night out of fun. Most doctors will say that drinking in moderation — a few drinks a week — won’t harm your health. But is it bad for weight loss?
The answer is: It could be. These are some of the cons to drinking alcohol while you’re trying to lose weight.
We tend to overlook the amount of sugar in alcoholic drinks. Spirits can have up to 14 grams of sugar, wines and sherries can have between two to 10 grams of sugar, and beers, ales, and ciders can have between five and 21 grams of sugar depending on the size and type.
To get a good idea of what that means to a weight loss plan, think of it this way: The 36 grams of sugar in a pint of ale equals nearly five full-sized Snickers bars; 10 grams of sugar in a medium glass of wine equals the sugar in one can of soda, and 14 grams of sugar in whiskey (25 mL) is equal to that in nearly 10 slices of pizza.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to need to burn more calories than you take in, and alcohol contains seven calories per gram. A glass of wine runs you about 123 calories – about half a slice of pizza — and a pint of ale will add about 149 calories. You’d need to take a 15-minute run to burn off each of those drinks. Not to mention the fact that having a drink or two might make you more likely to order a side of fries or a cheese plate to go with it.
Effects on the Liver
Calories and sugar aren’t the only problems with alcohol. Drinking alcohol is known to interfere with your body’s metabolism and affect your liver. Your liver breaks down fat calories and if it isn’t functioning healthily, it won’t do that properly.
Interference With Sleep
And when you consider how your body breaks down alcohol, think about the times that alcohol has made you very tired. Alcohol is a natural relaxant and sedative. When you’ve been drinking, your body tends to skip right over the first stage of sleep and right into REM. When you wake up, you won’t feel well rested. The less rested you feel, the more tempted you’ll be to eat more calories the next day in an effort to get more energy. That can prevent you from shedding the weight you want to lose.
In the end, whether or not you should drink really depends on you and your choices. If you want to shed weight fast, avoid grabbing a beer with your friends. If you’re okay with taking it slow, then it’s perfectly okay to have a drink or two now and then. Never feel the need to have to cut something out if you don’t want to, but if you want drastic results, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. If you currently drink regularly, cut back on alcohol, and you’ll likely see healthy changes in your body.