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May 30, 2019

Alcohol and Weight Loss: Why Moderation is Key to Losing Weight

There is a big secret we’re going to let you in on that is key for supporting weight loss, healthier sleep, increased energy, and improved mood. Ready for it? Drink less alcohol.

That’s right, folks! One of the best ways to support weight loss goals and improve overall health is to drink less alcoholic beverages.

This may not be the news you want to hear. Those couple of glasses of wine at the end of a long day are what winds you down and relaxes you. You’re not quite ready to give them up just yet.

But are those glasses of wine worth the trouble they cause, especially when it comes to impeding weight loss - or even causing weight gain? Does cutting out alcohol really make that much of an impact?

How does alcohol affect weight loss?

If you’re working on losing weight, you’re probably very aware of cutting calories in different ways. You may turn down mayonnaise on your sandwich, or decide to not have dessert after dinner. Those little changes make a big difference in calorie intake, and can really add up when trying to cut calories out of your daily meals.

However, the wine you have with dinner is just as bad as indulging in those extra calories. Let’s say that you had two glasses of wine with a healthy dinner of chicken, steamed veggies, and brown rice. Those two glasses of wine tacked on anywhere between 300-400 additional empty calories* to your meal. You may as well have skipped the wine and had a scoop of ice cream instead!

*Empty calories add no nutritional value to your diet, and quickly convert to sugar. In excess, these calories are stored as fat.

Those two glasses of wine amount to about 20% of your total recommended calorie intake for the day. That is pretty shocking, especially since that percentage of calories does not benefit your body in any way nutritionally.

Even in moderation, it’s easy to see how just a couple of drinks can really add on calories and hinder your weight loss goals.

Other ways that alcohol prevents weight loss

Alcohol disrupts natural sleep patterns
Healthy, natural sleep is an important component of health. Getting plenty of sleep is also connected with weight loss, so when your natural sleep cycle is disrupted it causes more problems than just a rough morning.

Alcohol, even just a small amount, has been shown to impede the natural rhythm of sleep. That nightcap before bed might knock you out initially, but studies have shown that during the later hours when your body begins breaking down the alcohol is where issues arise. Drinking less alcohol supports better sleep, which means more weight loss.

Alcohol causes lower self-esteem
Alcohol is linked to depression and lowered self-esteem. When your confidence is lower you’re more likely to reach for comfort food, or simply shift back into old unhealthy habits. Alcohol reduces energy levels as well, which will make you less motivated to exercise or get in any additional movement during your day.

Alcohol causes you to eat more food
Because of lowered inhibitions, alcohol also causes you to mindlessly consume more calories than you would if you weren’t drinking. A hangover will also cause you to reach for unhealthy, greasy foods - and let’s face it, probably skip the gym the next day too.

What can I do to drink less alcohol?

Exercise more
Rather than sitting at a bar or restaurant for happy hour, suggest meeting friends for a walk or bike ride instead. You not only end up burning more calories (rather than drinking more of them), but you’ll improve your mood and lower stress levels overall.

Replace it
Have trouble with the social aspect of drinking? Order soda water then add True Lemon. You’ll feel like you’re still participating in the activity of drinking, without actually drinking any empty calories. Bonus: you’ll also save a lot of money during your night out!

Change your mindset
Use alcohol to wind down? Think about what else you can do to replace the unhealthy habit with something better. Go for a walk around the block, enjoy a hot cup of herbal tea, or even do a short 5-minute meditation.


Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink every day does wonders for supporting weight loss. Just cutting back a few glasses of wine during your week goes a long way in terms if improving overall health and wellness.

[Credit: “Alcohol and Weight Gain.” Drinkaware.]