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Can You Drink Alcohol and Lose Weight?

Firstly let’s not kid ourselves excessive alcohol consumption is not healthy by any means. It has loads of calories, disrupts our hormonal balance, dehydrates us and wreaks havoc on our sleeping pattern (let alone the poor life choices we make while under the influence). But often it is a way for us to socially connect and can help us cool down after a tough day at work.

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to alcohol is how can I still lose weight and drink?

Speaking with a client the other day he was feeling a bit frustrated by the fact he wasn’t losing weight but exercising regularly and eating fairly well. So we broke down how many calories he was consuming just in alcohol. He said he and his wife would consume a bottle between them a night, plus he would have at least 3 work lunches a week where he would have a couple of glasses. So we calculated on average he would drink 5 bottles of wine a week. With 7.7 standard drinks to a bottle that’s around 40 standard drinks a week. At 125 calories a glass that is around 5000 calories a week in alcohol alone. To put this in perspective that is around 3 days worth of food just in alcohol.

So rather than an all in or all out approach, my client signed up to the 8 Week Better You challenge and has taken a sustainable harm minimisation approach by focusing on decreasing his weekly volume and make better choices where possible. Here are a few examples

Bottle of Beer (375ml)

Standard Beer 140 calories

Low Carb Beer 109 calories

Weekly Saving = 1240 calories

Glass of Wine (150mL)

Red Wine 125 calories*

White Wine 121 calories

Weekly Saving = 160 calories

*more nutrient value in red wine and less sugar

Glass of Mixer (150mL)

Rum and Coke 120 calories

Vodka soda lime 68 calories

Weekly Saving = 2080 calories

It’s not all bad when it comes to alcohol and our health. A study of 1,824 individuals between the ages of 55 and 65 over 20 years were broken into 4 groups

(1) abstainer

(2) light, defined as consuming up to less than 1 drink per day

(3) moderate, defined as consuming between 1 to less than 3 drinks per day

(4) heavy, defined as drinking 3 or more drinks per day

The study found that the mortality rate was highest among abstainers and heavy drinkers. It was lowest among light drinkers and moderate drinkers.

So that glass of red at the end of a long day might actually be doing you some good. Moderation is the key!

What other strategies do you use to have healthy drinking habits?

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