While we recommend to our clients that they avoid drinking alcohol while doing our programs, we also know that real life happens – you’re bound to be in situations where you have a drink or two.
Studies on the relationship between alcohol and weight loss show that drinking tends to sabotage your progress – not necessarily because of physiological mechanisms that take place (although alcohol can slow your metabolism and make you retain water), but more so because alcohol lowers your inhibitions around food.
3 drinks = 6,000 extra calories
New research suggests that if you do drink, make sure it’s only one or two. A study conducted by Slimming World, a UK weight loss organization, found there is a “tipping point” when it comes to drinking, after which you lose the ability to stay in control of food choices.
Surveying 2,042 people, the study found that having three alcoholic drinks was enough to cause a 6,000 caloric intake over the following 24 hours. People in the study consumed about 4,000 extra calories the night they did the drinking, while they consumed 2,000 more calories than normal the next day.
Drinking Changes Daily Habits
Not only can downing a few drinks make you eat more (3,500 calories = 1 pound, so, according to the study, if you have three drinks just once a week and consume an extra 6,000 calories, that’s enough to make you gain 1-2 pounds), but your behaviors following the drinking are likely to change, too.
Participants in the study reported that they cancelled their scheduled workouts or didn’t make it to the gym following a boozy night. Combined, drinking, binge eating, and not exercising are a recipe for weight gain.
“Alcohol stimulates appetite, makes us want to eat more unhealthy foods and lowers our inhibitions, all of which can lead to us making unhealthy choices – without even realizing how many more calories we’re consuming,” said Dr. Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World.
According to Bridget Benelam, Senior Nutrition Scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, alcohol also inhibits satiety cues, which means you’re likely to keep eating without realizing that you’re full.
“It’s really important to be aware of the effects of alcohol on food intake because it’s so easy to consume a lot more than you mean to when you’ve been drinking,” Benelam said.
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