Is Alcohol Hindering Your Weight Loss?
This is a common question that people have while trying to lose weight. I believe in a balanced lifestyle, so I include alcohol in my life. However, the biggest thing to do is assess your goals. Are you desiring to lose weight? Alcohol may be affecting this. The main cause of this is that alcohol decreases the quality of your sleep and decreases your ability to burn fat.
Alcohol turns to sugar quickly in your blood stream. It is then sent to your liver to be detoxified because your body sees it as a toxin. Guess what else occurs in your liver? Your ability to burn fat. So when your liver is detoxifying alcohol, it cannot burn fat. This is one of the reasons alcohol can hinder your weight loss or contribute to weight gain.
If you choose to, you can still enjoy a drink every now and then (I know I do!). What matters most is what you’re drinking, when you’re drinking it and how often:
- Everyone tolerates alcohol differently but a general recommendation is 1 drink, 3-4 days per week.
- Choose clear and naturally sugar free (not diet) beverages as much as possible:
- Dry wines (organic preferably)
- Choose organic because they are free of added sulfites, fructose and pesticides. Sulfites are naturally occurring in wine, but nowadays they’re added in large quantities to enhance flavor. These compounds are what cause broken capillaries, sinus mucus, headaches, swelling, sneezing, rashes and acne. One more surprising fact is that some wine makers add high-fructose grape juice concentrate (called mega purple) to increase palatability. This can also cause weight gain. If you need a good source for organic wines try www.dryfarmwines.com or go to your local liquor store and ask for their organic/locally made wines.
- A few more points to remember:
- The sweeter the wine, the more sugar it contains.
- Red wine contains tannins that can trigger headaches in some men and women.
- Hard cider with 10-15 g (or less) of sugar/bottle (Dry Cider from Seattle Cider Company, ACE Pear Cider, StrongBow, and Fox Barrel)
- Club soda with tequila or vodka and lime. Choose the clear spirits! They have less sugar and artificial flavorings.
- Stay away from
- Drinks with added sugars: regular soda, simple syrups, flavored liquor, etc. These are often the margaritas, mojitos, cosmopolitans, and other mixed drinks.
- Dark-colored drinks like bourbon, whiskey and fruit-laden mixtures have more chemical compounds of congeners (chemical by-products of the alcohol fermentation process), methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, tannins and aldehydes, then the light colored spirits like vodka.
- Dry wines (organic preferably)
- The last point is to drink your alcoholic beverage the farthest time away you can from when you are going to be sleeping.
- You might think – but why? Alcohol helps me sleep! However, alcohol actually puts your brain into an unconscious state, not to sleep. Being unconscious and sleeping are two very different things. Alcohol also affects your REM cycle while you are sleeping, making you not have a very restful night. So try to drink your beverage at the very least a few hours before going to bed – at suppertime preferably or before 7 PM.
Choosing to drink the wrong kind of alcoholic beverage, at the wrong time or the wrong amount, may result in restless nights, inflammation, weight gain and a host of other negative effects.
A great substitute for you if your friends are drinking and are pressuring you to join is to have club soda with a few limes. Another option (if you’re a kombuch-ie) to drink Kombucha in a wine glass. This actually has a small amount of alcohol but also contains probiotics which could help counter the effects of the alcohol.
Don’t Drink Without Eating!
One last point is to eat when you consume alcohol. Because alcohol acts like sugar in your body, it raises your blood sugar levels very quickly and can cause you to become hangry (angry + hungry) an hour or two later. So do your best to consume a protein and fat with your carb (alcoholic beverage) 🙂 And don’t forget your bedtime snack of a fat and carbohydrate!