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Alcohol's Effect on Body Fat


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Alcohol use - as a well-established part of human culture - is something that has become almost as acceptable as eating and breathing. As a social facilitator and feel good drug of choice for many, alcohol is very popular indeed, with consumption at mass levels.

However, alcohols well-documented deleterious effects - diminished performance, mental impairment, possible addiction, diabetes and liver disease to varying degrees in certain individuals - could be seen as a good reason to steer clear of it.

This being said, many people enjoy its sedating influence and it does play a vital role in many of society's traditions and practices. One effect alcohol has, which is not widely discussed, is its impact on body composition. In its purest form, ethyl alcohol, which supplies seven calories per gram, alcohol provides energy, bumping up ones total energy balance whenever it is consumed.

Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies what nutritionists often refer to as empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage. Here is what diet guru Robert C Atkins says regarding alcohols affect on fat storage:

"Here's the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet. Alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that's going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen, and you immediately go back into ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up.

If you must drink alcohol, wine is an acceptable addition to levels beyond the Induction diet. If wine does not suit your taste, straight liquor such as scotch, rye, vodka, and gin would be appropriate, as long as the mixer is sugarless; this means no juice, tonic water; or non-diet soda. Seltzer and diet soda are appropriate."

Main concerns are:

1. Alcohol Supplies Almost Twice As Many Calories As Protein & Carbohydrates -

At seven calories per gram, alcohol supplies almost twice as many as protein and carbohydrates. In fact, alcohol has only two fewer calories than fat, which has nine per gram. It must also be remembered that the calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore hasten fat storage.

The calories found in the average alcoholic drink are quite concentrated compared to many foods, and this actually causes one to inadvertently take in many more calories than would otherwise be consumed. Alcohol is quite deceptive in that it passes through the system rapidly, often before the drinker is aware of the number of drinks they have had.

Alcoholic drinks also contain calories from other sources, which add to overall caloric intake. Certain cocktails, for example, contain fats. Wine and beer both have high carbohydrate content. Although the affects these various calorie types have on the body are different - carbohydrates release insulin, which can hasten fat storage, while fats will be stored directly in the fat cells - the overall result is added body fat.

An example of how many calories can be easily consumed can be seen with a small glass of wine: a 5-ounce glass of wine will typically contain 110 calories, 91 of which come from the alcohol itself (13 grams), with the remaining five grams coming from carbohydrates.

Beer contains more carbohydrates (although many of the "Lite" beers have a carb content similar to a glass of wine) and less alcohol than wine, but is seen as being more fattening, due to its higher energy content.

2. Alcohol Loosens The Inhibitions -

While drinking, people usually will not stop to consider the impact alcohol is having on their bodies; such is alcohol's affect on loosening the inhibitions. The result of this relaxed thinking could mean more calories consumed and extra body fat gains. Those drinking might also eat more of the wrong kinds of food, without thinking of the consequences.

Alcohol tends to have an appetite stimulating effect as it provides little in the way of nutrition, leaving a craving for other foods at the time of consumption. Add this to the fact that fatty and salty foods tend to accompany most occasions featuring alcohol (as well as alcohol actually stimulating ones appetite for these kinds of foods), and the general loosening of resolve that goes with an inebriated mind set, and you have a recipe for excess fat gain. Alcohol has also been shown to affect motivation, making a healthy diet harder to stay on while it is being used.

3. Alcohol (When Used To Excess) Can Damage The Stomach, Kidneys, And Liver -

Given alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion; it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the kidneys and liver, leading to serious health problems - even death in certain instances. Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the weight loss process.

The liver, which processes toxins and breaks down fats for fuel - is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy body composition. Alcohol is at its most destructive during the livers detoxification process.

4. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone -

Testosterone, which has a powerful fat loss effect, is reduced whenever alcohol is consumed, thus halting its full potential as a fat burner. Also, testosterone as an anabolic hormone, contributes to gains in lean muscle mass. Lowered testosterone means fewer muscle gains, and less muscle means a lowered metabolic rate.

A lower metabolic rate will make the job of losing fat all the more harder, as this is what governs the way we use energy. Those with a higher metabolic rate will burn more calories at rest. By interfering with testosterone production, alcohol indirectly causes the body to lower its metabolic rate (and thus the rate at which it uses energy) and directly prohibits testosterone from exerting its powerful fat burning effects.

5. Alcohol Increases Appetite.

Touched on briefly in point two, alcohol can increase appetite, making the combination of alcohol and a fattening meal all the more worse. A Canadian study showed that alcohol consumed before a meal increased caloric intake to a far greater extent than did a carbohydrate drink. Also, researchers from Denmark's Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University showed that if a group of men were given a meal and allowed to eat as much as they wanted, alcohol, rather than a soft drink, would increase the amount of food consumed.

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Here is an article i got off Weightwatchers.com(note***1 point is approximate to 50 calories):

"So what'll it be?" asks the bartender. Most any woman will have a proud answer. Your personal cocktail says a lot about you. A martini woman revels in class and sophistication, while a margarita chica knows how to enjoy a fiesta. But what you might not know is that having a few of your favorite mixed drinks (which, more often than not, lead to a few more) can cause serious damage to your weight-loss efforts.

Despite what seems like common sense, less volume does not necessarily translate to fewer POINTS® values. To help make sense of the madness, we've researched 18 popular cocktails for you to compare and contrast to get the biggest bang for your POINTS value buck. Have a crack at our interactive game and find out for yourself how many POINTS values you've been drinking.

Some mixed drinks, like the screwdriver, will cost you only 2 POINTS values for 4 oz., while a 19 oz. frozen mudslide can be up to 10 times that many. Choices like the gin and tonic are quite reasonable others, like a piña colada, are downright bone-chilling. But don't call up your girlfriends to cancel happy hour at the martini bar just yet. As long as you understand that that the piña colada will cost you more POINTS values than three screwdrivers, we'll consider that a small victory. (Just pay attention to portion sizes because most bars serve up drinks larger than 4 oz.)

When you're on a weight-loss plan, you obviously want whatever you eat or drink to be of the best quality and have the most taste. "Fresh juices are the key to tasty spirits," says Brian Van Flandern, founder of Creative Cocktail Consultants in New York City. "Using fresh lime juice instead of sweetened, colored or artificial lime flavoring makes a tremendous difference in taste. I also only use fresh cane sugar in my sweet cocktails it's stronger and more palatable than artificial sweetening syrups. Plus, you can alter the taste by stirring in less."

Here is a basic rule of thumb: while liquor has a relatively high POINTS value of about 1.5 per ounce, there is practically no variance among the different varieties. An ounce of whiskey is equal to an ounce of rum, gin and so forth. "However," says Van Flandern, "you definitely want to avoid liqueurs. Most are artificially flavored or colored and loaded with high fructose corn syrup which is packed with calories."

Also watch out for drinks that combine different liquors. For example, a Long Island iced tea, which contains gin, rum, tequila and vodka (not to mention cola and sour mix), will set you back 6 POINTS values. On the other hand, your basic rum and coke (no big secret about the ingredients there) will only cost you 4 POINTS values. The monstrous frozen mudslide combines vodka, coffee liqueur and Irish cream with two scoops of chocolate ice cream. No wonder it's 19 POINTS values.

Bloody Mary 4 oz = 2 points

Screwdriver 4 oz = 2 points

Jack & Coke 6 oz = 3 points

Gin & Tonic 6 oz = 3 points

Mojito 6 oz = 3 points

Vodka Tonic 6 oz = 3 points

Sex On The Beach 6 oz = 4 points

Cosmopolitan 4 oz = 4 points

Mai Tai 4 oz = 4 points

Manhattan 4 oz = 4 points

Rum & Coke 4 oz = 4 points

Frozen Daiquiri 4 oz = 5 points

Margarita 4 oz = 5 points

Martini 4 oz = 5 points

Long Island Iced Tea 6 oz = 6 points

Pina Colada 6 oz = 7 points

White Russian 4 oz = 7 points

Frozen Mudslide 12 oz = 19 points

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Good info. My choice is always a rum and diet coke. I will say that I'm not a big drinker, but it is nice to go out with the girls once a month for some kid free time.

I am right there with you. If you do rum and coke and want to have more then one you can always order a rum and diet coke for less calories/points. I also like vodka and sugar free red bulls when I go to Vegas that way I can stay awake and I do not have to worry about the extra calories. :lol:

I cant drink Gin so also do Vodka Tonics.

My favorite thing are the Mojitos so I plan for them in advance. :wub:

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Giving up the sauce is going to be tough for me. I love wine, vodka and margaritas. I know with the band I will be cutting waaaaaaaaaaaaay back on any and all drinking. That is ok though. I have done my fair share throughout my life.

nyhow, thanks for all of that information ladis. It was very informative and usefull. :)

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Care Of Hungry-Girl.com

Fun with Eggnog!

Get creative with your nog, humans!

Spiked! If you want to make an alcoholic version of any of these drinks (and you're of legal age to enjoy it!), nix the rum extract and reduce the soymilk to 4 1/2 cups -- then add 5 oz. rum to the recipe. Just tack on an additional 58 calories and an extra POINTS� value of 1* to each serving.

In Your Coffee! A generous splash of any of these nogs will add creamy flavor to your java. Mmmmm!

Nogsicles! If you've got one of those ice-pop molds for making freezy treats at home, pour in some nog and freeze until solid. Or just use small plastic cups, cover 'em with foil, and slide a Popsicle stick thru the foil to make your pops. Sooo good!

Regular eggnog has about 450 calories and 20 fat grams per cup -- and that's WITHOUT any alcohol! Why do it? Sip these no-guilt nogs instead...

Cinn-fully Good Choco-Nog

PER SERVING (1 cup): 104 calories, 2g fat, 370mg sodium, 15g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g sugars, 7g protein -- POINTS value 2*

We're all about putting a new spin on an HG classic. Here's a BRAND-NEW, cocoa-licious, eggnog recipe you'll love... PROMISE!!!


One 25-calorie packet diet hot cocoa mix (like Swiss Miss Diet or Nestle Fat Free)

5 cups light vanilla soymilk, divided

1 small (4-serving) package sugar-free fat-free instant chocolate pudding mix

1 tsp. rum extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Optional toppings: Fat Free Reddi-wip, additional cinnamon


Combine cocoa mix with 1/4 cup hot water in a tall glass, and stir to dissolve. Add 1 cup soymilk and stir. Transfer to a blender.

Add remaining 4 cups soymilk and all other ingredients to the blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and uniform. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least a few hours to allow nog to thicken.

If you like, before serving, top each glass off with a squirt of Reddi-wip and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Enjoy!


No-Nonsense Nog

PER SERVING (1 cup): 98 calories, 2g fat, 382mg sodium, 13g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 6g sugars, 6g protein -- POINTS� value 2*

For those who like a traditional eggnog... without all the traditional calories and fat grams!


5 cups light vanilla soymilk

1 small (4-serving) package sugar-free fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix

6 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda)

1 tsp. rum extract

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Optional toppings: Fat Free Reddi-wip, cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a blender, a nd blend on high speed until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least a few hours to allow nog to thicken.

If you like, before serving, top each glass off with a squirt of Reddi-wip and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Yum time!


Pumpkin-licious Nog

PER SERVING (1 cup): 110 calories, 2g fat, 344mg sodium, 16g carbs, 2g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 6g protein -- POINTS� value 2*

Our pal pumpkin makes this old-school treat a little hipper, tastier and, um, more orange...


5 cups light vanilla soymilk

1 small (4-serving) package sugar-free fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix

6 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda)

2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 tsp. rum extract

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Optional toppings: Fat Free Reddi-wip, add itional cinnamon


In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high speed until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least a few hours to allow nog to thicken.

If you like, before serving, top each glass off with a squirt of Reddi-wip and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Drink up, Thirsty!


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