Alcohol – How to enjoy a drink while dieting

If you’re looking to lose weight alcohol can be a tricky subject. Many people exclude it altogether but then struggle when socialising. Drinking too much is one of the quickest ways to ruin your efforts but it is still possible to include the odd drink and still lose weight.

The Problem with Alcohol

Alcohol is a source of empty calories in the diet.  In fact 1g of  alcohol contains 7 calories nearly as much as fat. So it can quickly add to your daily calorie intake without providing any real nutrition.

Alcohol can also disrupt your metabolism. When you drink alcohol your body prioritises digesting and detoxifying it before anything else including metabolising food you have eaten. So if you have a few drinks your metabolism can be put on pause for an hour or more. This can then affect your ability to burn fat efficiently.

Alcohol also affects your appetite. Drink too much and it will disrupt your blood sugar causing your blood sugar to crash which in turn will trigger hunger. Alcohol often lowers your will power making it more likely you start snacking on less than healthy foods.

Alcoholic drinks vary in their calorie content. If you want to drink alcohol without interfering with your fat loss goals choose lower calorie options.

The best lower carb options include clear liquors like vodka, gin, rum, tequila, light beers, Champagne and certain wines. Watch glass sizes as these can vary tremendous especially when it comes to wine glasses.  An easy way to cut back on the calories is to use soda water or diet tonic water when mixing with your spirits. Watch out for cocktails, drinks with syrups and mixers and regular beer or cider.


How to drink without ruining your diet

  1. Don’t drink more than one day per week and on that day limit to two drinks only.
  2. Lower your carb and fat intakes on the day you choose to drink. Increase your protein and vegetable intake through the day.
  3. Try not to eat while drinking and stay away from carb-filled drinks like beer and cocktails.
  4. Space out your drinks and drink slowly
  5. If you do intend to eat while having a drink stick to foods higher in protein and make sure there are some healthy snacks in the fridge if you get hungry after a night out. Greek yogurt with fruit, protein smoothie are easy satisfying options.
  6. Reset the next day. One night out or a day off is not going to wreck your diet. So don’t think that you have blown it and then derail yourself the next day or week. Instead acknowledge it and get right back on your plan the next day.

A little alcohol will not throw your entire plan off course but be careful it does not become a regular habit. Focus on the bigger picture and remind yourself of your longer term goals.