The short answer? - Yes you can, and I'm going to explain how......
I wanted to write this blog post today as I feel there is a lot of confusion surrounding alcohol. It is a common misconception that you can not lose fat if you regularly consume alcoholic drinks.
Every food or drink that we consume contains macronutrients, macronutrients are: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Each macronutrient plays it's own role in supporting our bodies functions, and each macronutrient contains a set number of calories per gram.
Fat contains 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrate contains 4 calories per gram
Protein contains 4 calories per gram
So what about alcohol? Although alcohol is not a macronutrient, it contains 7 calories per gram
To lose weight we must consistently consume less calories than we expend, it purely comes down in to an energy in vs energy out balance.
The issue with alcohol is that it does not provide us with nutrients which are going to make us feel full and satisfied, which is why it is often referred to as 'empty calories'. Calories from alcohol can quickly add up, for example -
- The average pint of beer contains 180 calories
- The average large glass of wine contains 220 calories
- The average cocktail contains upwards of 250 calories
So as you can see, if you are regularly consuming several alcoholic drinks on top of your usual calorie intake from food, you could be hindering your fat loss progress without feeling like you are in a calorie excess. BUT if you are sensible in your approach and incorporate the odd glass of wine in to your lifestyle then it is not going to stop you from achieving your goals.
Red wine actually contains lots of antioxidants, and there are lower calorie options in the form of clear spirits and diet mixers.
- A slimline gin and tonic comes in at 60 calories
- A glass of prosecco comes in at 80 calories
- A vodka and diet coke comes in at 75 calories
This is why it is important to be aware of your overall energy balance (calories in vs calories out) fat loss, fat gain, or weight maintenance is determined by what we do consistently. And if you do have the odd occasion where you drink a large amount of alcohol, try and make good food choices the day after, drink plenty of water and make an effort to move your body - Rather than eat greasy hangover food and feel sorry for yourself on the sofa all day (which is usually the biggest problem when trying to reach a health goal).
The takeaway? Alcohol in moderation, and in the context of a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle can aid in long term adherence.
Alcohol is often consumed in social situations, and forbidding yourself can cause stress, or even lead to bingeing on alcohol further down the line.
.......you won't find me giving up wine any time soon!