Alcohol and Weight Gain

Alcohol and Weight Gain

AlcoholIf you have been trying to lose weight you have probably been pretty good at keeping track of what you are eating and adjusting accordingly depending on what kind of day, week you have had.  However there’s one area we often fall short and that’s in the calories we drink. Energy drinks, juice and smoothies can add extra calories, but alcohol is often our biggest enemy, going down so smoothly, we may have no idea just how many extra calories we’re taking in.  If cocktails are a regular part of your diet and you’re trying to lose weight, being more aware of what and how much alcohol you part take in can make a difference.

Alcohol and Weight Gain – Health Benefits

If you’re a moderate drinker, which is defined as two drinks a day for men or one drink a day for women, some studies have found possible health benefits such as:

  • Reduced risk of developing heart disease
  • Reduced risk of ischemic stroke (The physical blockage of blood flow to an area of the brain, causing brain cells in the area to die. Ischemic strokes cause permanent brain damage and long term impairments)
  • Lower risk of dying of a heart attack
  • Lower risk of developing diabetes

Of course, there are other ways to achieve all of these things without tipping a glass – exercise, for one, and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet. While there may be some health benefits to part taking in alcohol and, of course, many of us just like it, there are some drawbacks as well, starting with your waistline.

Alcohol and Weight Gain – Added Calories

Alcohol will add empty calories to your diet and while alcohol doesn’t contain fat, it does contain 7 calories per gram. That’s more than protein and carbs, both of which contain 4 calories per gram. Have a look at the list below to see how much alcohol you can consume without really thinking about it.

  • 1 can (12 oz) Beer – 135-145 calories
  • 1 can (12 oz) Light Beer – 101 calories
  • 1 glass (3.5 oz) Red or White Wine – 70-75 calories
  • 1 shot (1.5 oz) Gin, rum, vodka or whiskey – 97 calories
  • 1 glass (6 oz) Cosmopolitan – 143 calories
  • 1 glass (4.5 oz) Pina colada – 262 calories
  • 1 glass (2.2 oz) Martini – 135 calories

By having only a couple of beers this will add more than 300 calories to your diet, the equivalent of 30 minutes of jogging for a 10 stone person. Having a few drinks after a workout may end up undoing all that hard work.

Alcohol may actually stimulate your appetite and this can be very dangerous as the foods that you have been very good at avoiding whilst sober can become even more appealing with alcohol in your system, especially if you are at a party.  Alcohol will make it so much harder to stick to a healthy diet as well as adding extra empty calories.  Your willpower would have to be exceptionally strong to avoid the high calorie type foods and that requires energy.  It has been shown in one study (The Physiology of Willpower: Linking blood glucose to self control, Mathew T Gailliot) that acts of self-control, like bypassing a piece of chocolate cake for the healthy option of a carrot stick, can actually deplete glucose levels, leaving us in a situation where we don’t have control over our choices.

Adding alcohol to the mix drains that energy even more, leaving you less worried about blowing all your good work in the gym and the good nutritional choices that you have made all week.

Alcohol and Weight Gain – Forward Plan

If you know that you have a party coming up, plan ahead make sure you eat a proper meal before going out this should prevent you from overeating all the fatty party foods that will be available.  Consider having a glass of water in between the alcohol, ask the barman to add a lemon or lime piece to the glass to make it look less obvious as a glass of water.  As well ask keeping you hydrated this will also slow down your alcohol intake over the course of the night.  Try and avoid the high calorie drinks such as cocktails stick to the same drink during the night and try not to mix. Remember it is all about moderation especially with cocktails think about them the same way you would a plate of chips!!!!



Call 0141 639 6648 to book a session
Caroline Brown

Caroline Brown

Personal Trainer & Owner at C & Believe Fitness
Exercising to me is a way of life, At C & Believe Fitness you will Feel Better within yourself, you will Feel Healthier and you will Feel Fitter. Call 0141 639 6648 / 07971 698 390 today or Email me at for a FREE evaluation of your fitness needs and goals.
Caroline Brown
Caroline Brown
Caroline Brown
Caroline Brown

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