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Does alcohol inhibit weight loss...

Does alcohol inhibit weight loss? Let Vision Personal Training show you the impact alcohol can have on your weight loss goals and long term lifestyle.
Health & Nutrition Articles
Health & Nutrition Articles

By Waikeri Birch at Takapuna



When it comes to alcohol and weight loss they are complete enemies however that doesn't mean we can't still indulge every now and then. Consuming alcohol does not directly result in fat storage. Guess what? It's the over-consumption of food usually fats and carbohydrates like chips ,nuts and dips that you eat when you are enjoying a casual wine or beer that is the problem.


Basically, when alcohol is ingested your body takes the beer, wine, spirit and mixers like a toxin. The body will try to process it as quickly as possible so it sends the toxins off to the liver. The stored carbohydrates in the liver are no longer required as a fuel source and these 'carbs' consumed with the alcohol are quickly stored in the muscle cells and liver.


So drinking excessively will cause too much carbohydrates to be stored as fat and the liver cannot process it all. Alcohol has 29kj of energy per gram which is almost double the energy value of 1 gram of carbohydrates. So it is going to take your body almost twice as long to burn up this alcohol - Also delaying your body's ability to use its carbohydrates and fat stores.


Comparing foods and alcohol in terms of energy intake:

So imagine you're at a party and you consume 5-6 bourbon and cokes over the course of a 5 hour timeframe - this may be thought to be quite acceptable. However, imagine how you would look and feel if you ate 10-12 potatoes at the same party - the food equivalent of the 5-6 bourbon and cokes


But wait there's more:

Alcohol is also a diuretic so all the essential vitamins and minerals get depleted from your body. This will slow down muscle movement cognitive function and more. Alcohol and sleep don't actually go as well as you think either! You will be sleeping a lot lighter than usually all though it won't feel this way also further dehydrating your body.


Alcohol will also stimulate your appetite and make you crave high carbohydrate and fatty foods, being slightly intoxicated you will find it even easier to give in to these cravings as you won't be thinking clear.


Skipping meals beforehand to cut calories? Not such a good idea you will be so hungry by the time you get to the function that you're much more likely to munch on all those salty, fatty snacks.

Most bar/function type snacks will also be high in salt making you further crave a drink to quench your thirst! 


  1. Drink some water between each alcoholic drink.
  2. 'Blind refills' - keep an eye on your drink to avoid it being topped up by staff.
  3. Eat a clean protein rich meal before going to the function or party.
  4. When drinking spirits, use water or diet soft drinks as the mix or coke zero.
  5. When drinking beer or wine choose low carbohydrate varieties.
  6. Watch the foods you eat in the hours prior to and while drinking. Steer clear of high carbohydrates and fat rich foods.
  7. Watch the foods you eat over the next few days as a drinking session will supply your body with a higher than normal carb intake and will lead to fat gain.
  8. A low to moderate exercise session the next day can help to burn off the oversupply of energy, keep up water intake, as exercising when you are dehydrated can lead to further damage.


Remember a few simple choices to drink smarter and drink less beats slaving out hours and hours of cardio just to break even! 

Sam Johnston

Vision Personal Trainer Takapuna 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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