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Alcohol and Weight Loss

Do alcohol and weight loss go together? If you search the web for the answer to that question, the answer you’ll probably find is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Do that search yourself. Just Google “weight loss alcohol”. Skim the first few search hits and you’ll see what I mean.

You will find many very convincing, detailed, scientific-sounding explanations for why alcohol and weight loss cannot go together, or at least why alcohol makes it extremely difficult to lose weight.

I certainly can’t definitively dispute every claim made by every expert, but I can definitely maintain my usual mantra. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CALORIES. If your alcohol consumption doesn’t put you over your daily calorie target, then alcohol and weight loss efforts can co-exist.

As with every other topic related to weight loss, of course there may be other factors that are relevant. Some of these other factors may have an impact on your weight loss efforts. But in the end all of those “other factors” usually pale in comparison to the CALORIE COUNT when it comes to losing weight.

Remember all that when you do that suggested web research on alcohol and weight loss. Yes, maybe alcohol slows your metabolism. Maybe alcohol has other adverse physiological effects. Many argue strongly that alcohol really is one of the worst things for your health that are legally available.

Alcohol and Weight Loss: It’s practically ALL about the calories

Remember what I said above about all the negative factors related to alcohol you’ll find reported on the web. There is one critical element that tends to minimize the relevance of all those health risks: You really can’t consume very much alcohol and stay within your calorie limits.

This no different than saying that eating a lot of refined white sugar is incompatible with health and weight loss. If you’re targeting a daily calorie limit of 1500, how much refined white sugar are you really going to be able to consume anyway? One cup of white sugar contains 773 calories. That’s more than half your 1500 calorie target, so is that going to replace your lunch or your dinner?

The point is that your weight loss calorie limit places a tight lid on how many “bad” things you can fit in. Six fluid ounces (176g, or “one glass”) of red wine has 150 calories.

For most people, depending on weight, 1500-2000 calories per day is a reasonable weight loss target. Elsewhere on this site I try to illustrate exactly how low-cal 1500 calories/day is by pointing out that a very dry tuna sandwich has 470 calories. And that’s not a real tasty tuna sandwich like you might buy at a restaurant or store. That’s a tuna sandwich that would leave your cat asking “Where’s the REST of my dinner?”

Well, if you can eat only the equivalent of two tuna sandwiches and thereby leave 500 calories remaining in your calorie budget for the day so that you can have a few glasses of wine INSTEAD of dinner (not WITH your dinner), you’ll still lose weight.

I don’t really recommend liquid dinners like this. There are surely healthier things you could use your calorie budget on. But alcohol and weight loss are NOT mutually exclusive.

 


 

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