5 ways alcohol slows down weight loss

It’s no secret that if you’re looking to increase health or drop some weight, alcohol is not going to be the part of the equation that helps move the scale in the right direction.  Check out these 5 ways alcohol slows down weight loss, and see what actually goes on in the body when drinking.


Alcohol does the opposite of what we want regarding increased weight loss because it slows down metabolism during consumption. This means any calories taken in while drinking are more likely to get stored as fat. A big part of this is because the body recognizes alcohol as a toxin and must work harder to metabolize the alcohol content, making less energy available to metabolize food.


Alcohol dehydrates the body which results in water retention that is reflected on the scale – and not in the direction most of us are hoping for. Over time, dehydration affects things like energy level, healthy skin, and overall mood. Put this combination together and you’ll see motivation decrease, while weight increases.


Alcohol activates brain signals that tell the body to eat more, which naturally increases hunger.  It’s a no-brainer that when hunger increases, we reach for more food in an attempt to satisfy what our body is recognizing as an uptick in hunger.


Alcohol interferes with quality REM sleep, leading to increased hunger the following day (due to an interference with hunger and satiety hormones), and a craving or desire for high-sugar, high-fat, and high-carb foods kicks in.


Muscle recovery/repair may be prevented with the consumption of alcohol which means, if you choose to drink after a good workout, you may be negating some of your hard work.  With the interruption of muscle recovery and repair, a more efficient metabolism is also interrupted and we’re back to point number one of the effects of alcohol on the body – a slower metabolism and increased fat storage.



 In a society where so many social gatherings are around food and drink, it’s good to go in with a game plan!  Next time you’re out, try these tricks to keep progress toward your goals.

  • Have a drink in hand, but make it nonalcoholic. Try pouring sparkling or carbonated water into a glass, add in a lime and a black straw. No one will even know the difference other than you!
  • Set a limit “Planning to fail is failing to plan” We’ve all heard this quote and there is a lot of truth to it. Don’t go into a situation hoping for the results you want. Be intentional. Set the number of drinks you will have before even going out and ask how this supports your overall goal so you aren’t surprised by the end result on the scale.
  • Set a time frame If you’re going to be out for the entire evening, or for an extended period of time, set parameters. After you’ve set a drink limit, set a time frame. Try something like not having your first drink until you sit down for food and stopping once the meal is complete.

If you must…

Of course, the best weight loss results will be found without alcohol, but if you must, try sticking to those drinks lower in sugar and calories like the ones below:

  • Wine spritzer made with wine and Pellegrino/sparkling water
  • Vodka with club soda and lime/lemon
  • 5-ounce glass of dry, red wine
  • Alcoholic seltzer water (Truly, White Claw, Smirnoff, Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer, Henry’s)
  • 12-ounce light beer
  • Bloody Mary made with vodka and low-sodium tomato juice (no fixings!)
  • Diet Coke and rum
  • Skinny cocktails (e.g. skinny margarita made with tequila and lime juice ONLY, no mixes or added sugar)

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