How to Avoid Weight Gain with Alcohol Consumption

How to Avoid Weight Gain with Alcohol Consumption

If you have experienced weight gain associated with alcohol consumption, you are not alone.  Understanding the reasons why this occurs can help you avoid this negative cycle, create better habits and control your appetite more effectively.

Have you ever had alcohol over the weekend and noticed a big jump on your scale Monday morning?  There are a number of reasons why alcohol can cause weight gain.  Below are a few:

  • While alcohol has almost the same number of calories per gram as pure fat, it is mostly empty calories and actually keeps your body from burning fat.  You see, alcohol metabolites tend to interfere with fat mobilization and your ability to burn fat. Some studies show that alcohol also promotes fat storage.
  • There is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and an increased appetite. Drinking can interfere with the hormone leptin, which signals to your brain when you have had enough, causing you to eat more in order to feel full.  Also, researchers have found that alcohol affects an area of your brain that controls appetite and this can cause intense hunger, especially the day after drinking. Alcohol triggers the part of the brain that makes us feel hungry.

Having 4 to 14 drinks per week adds an extra 600 to 2100 calories.  The average alcoholic beverage clocks in at around 150 calories so, a night out with several drinks can lead to consuming a few hundred extra empty calories. In addition, beware that drinks with mixers such as fruit juice or soda, contain even more calories.

Whether or not you will gain weight from alcohol depends on what you drink, how much you drink, how often you drink, what you eat when you drink, and your unique body and lifestyle.

But remember, drinking alcohol – particularly in excessive amounts – has many other serious health risks beyond possible weight gain, including high blood pressure, increased triglycerides, heart disease and stroke, liver disease, and some cancers. So, it’s important to monitor your alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet, regardless of whether or not you’re managing your weight.

While cutting alcohol completely out of your diet isn’t necessarily the only way to lose weight, there are many improvements that can be made in your health journey by simply cutting back on it. Here’s are a few ideas that can help:

  • If you do plan to drink, enjoy a vodka or whiskey on the rocks — and skip the soda!
  • Have something to eat beforehand to help slow down how quickly the alcohol gets absorbed.
  • Be mindful of your serving size.  In a standard wine glass, 4 ounces should come up to about a quarter of the way or a little bit under the halfway point of the glass. 
  • If you want a cocktail, try sticking with clear liquors like vodka and tequila, and opt for mixers that aren’t high in sugar.

If you are frustrated by weight gain or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, my team and I are here to help.  Visit to learn more and/or to get started on your journey to better health.