Do You Have to Give Up Alcohol to Lose Weight?

I read some interesting stats recently. Did you know that most Americans double their drinking during the holidays? The average American drinks 100% more alcohol than they typically do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. About 69% of people are more likely to overindulge during the holidays than any other time of year.
If you’re trying to lose weight you may be wondering whether you have to wave off drinking all together this holiday season. Good news. The answer is no. It is possible to drink alcohol and still lose weight. In fact, there have been many studies analyzing this that found you can drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol and not gain weight. It’s important to note, however, that a moderate amount of alcohol is one drink a day for women and no more than two a day for men. The picture above illustrates what is considered one drink for wine, distilled spirits and beer.
The way your body breaks down alcohol is very unique. Since your body cannot store alcohol, it moves it quickly through your system. Your metabolism burns the majority of calories in alcohol through the thermic effect of food (TEF). That’s why if you’re trying to lose weight, you can have a few drinks a week and still be successful in losing weight. BUT, while your body is processing the calories from the alcohol you drink, it is not processing the calories you take in from other sources. So if you’re pairing your couple of beers with a plate of nachos or a cheeseburger, the excess calories from those will get stored by your body.
So, when you think about drinking this holiday season keep these points in mind.
  • A moderate amount of alcohol is really only 1-2 drinks.
  • It’s not just the alcohol you drink that matters. It’s also what you eat. You’re more likely to drink more alcohol than usual and indulge in unhealthy foods this time of year.
  • If you know you’ll be drinking, look at other areas in your diet where you can trim calories.
  • If you know that drinking may trigger you to overdo it, you should consider keeping your drinking to a minimum.
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