Drinking alcohol and dieting: how alcohol influences your diet

April 25, 2009

Diet Foods, Diets & Nutrition

Believe it or not if you don’t eat nothing all day in an attempt to lose weight, if you drink a alcoholic beverage in the evening all that effort was in vain.

Alcohol is metabolized by your liver, the same organ that is responsible of fat burning. When you drink alcohol it gains priority. Your liver metabolizes alcohol first leading to an accumulation of fatty acids in your body. In other words your body uses up first the calories from the alcohol before the calories from fats. So your body will store fats for later consumption, meaning you will gain weight. Alcohol acts as a brake on your metabolism, slowing it down and making you gain weight.

The calories from alcohol are empty calories, without any nutritional value. Calories with nutritional value can be found in nuts that are rich in iodine and proteins or from olives that are rich omega 3 fatty acids. Alcohol affects the liquids balance from your body. When you are under the influence of alcohol you urinate frequently, and lose liquids. Usually you quench your resulting thirst with more alcoholic beverages and a vicious circle is created. When you lose liquids you also lose important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Alcohol also interferes with the absorption of vitamin B and the processing of vitamins A and D.


In conclusion, when you are on a diet, alcohol increases the number of calories you have to burn daily and slow down your metabolism. If you are on a weight loss diet and you have to go to a party here is what you can do:

  • -contrary to popular opinion, spirits are more rich in calories than beer. Of course usually you drink more beer than spirits. My advice is to avoid both types of alcoholic beverages.
  • -don’t drink sweet alcoholic beverages that have lots of sugar.
  • -take into consideration the fact that grapes contain a lot of natural sugar so don’t drink sweet wines.
  • -the best drinking choice is one glass of dry red wine. Generally red wines are less sugary than white wines.
  • -don’t drink only alcoholic beverages. Keep at hand a glass of water to avoid dehydration.
  • -drink after you have eaten, not before. Appetizer drinks before the meal increase your hunger.

Also remember that when you are under the influence of alcohol your will might disappear by miracle. You might find yourself eating the all the darn food present at the party.

For more information on the effects of alcohol on your weight loss diet read Alcohol and weight loss: does alcohol and dieting mix?

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