Can I Party and Still Lose Weight? (The Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Weight Loss)

Time to nip this one in the butt!  I’ve been asked questions similar to this one quite a few times around the holiday season:

Is it ok if I drink over the weekends or party when I want to lose weight?

I usually follow this with a slight smirk when I deliver the news that it’s not.  While a glass of wine has been shown to contain a wealth of antioxidants and increase “good cholesterol” (High Density Lipoproteins or HDL) it dosen’t mean that multiple glasses is better!  Note the following: Antioxidants are found far greater concentrations in berries, brocoli, garlic, green tea, tomatoes and are naturally released when you exercise so that’s not a good excuse!

Here are the following reasons why excess partying can ruin a person’s progress in weight loss or staying lean:

  1. Alcohol prevents the body from burning fat:  It’s been shown that it only takes two shots of vodka (1.5 oz each) consumed in an hour to reduce the body’s ability to metabolize fat by %73.  Alcohol and fats are both processed in the liver but not at the same time.  Alcohol is processed first before fats because of it’s simple chemical structure so drinking too much leads to the inability to process fats.
  2. Alcohol consumption affects insuline sensitivity: Insuline is a hormone that is essential to transporting glucose or energy into cells.  Drinking alcohol affects our cells sensitivity to insuline preventing our cells from efficiently taking up energy.  This can also lead to Type II Diabetes and heart disease if done excessively.  Our bodies also store unused energy as fat!
  3. Alcohol is also high in empty calories here’s a link to a calorie counter for the most common alcoholic beverages.  Just remember the garbage in garbage out principle: if you consume calories with very little nutrition behind them then expect it to store as fat!
  4. Overconsumption of alcohol often accompanies poor food choices.  I don’t think I can even list one healthy food establishment that is open after 12:00am!

We always advocate moderation when it comes to nutrition here at Blitz.  It’s not that you should refrain entirely from enjoying alcoholic beverages but do it in a controlled manner if you want to see results.  Partying compounds on top of itself too.  Your metabolism needs a few days if not a week in order to recover so stringing a few big nights together or binging on weekends affects how your body processes food for days after!

About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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