Alcohol and Losing Weight
Can alcohol make you fat?
Alcohol can be used as an energy source by the body. By itself it is high in energy content, it contains 7 calories of energy per gram; this is close to the caloric density of fat, at 9 calories per gram. If you also take into account that many alcoholic drinks also contain added sugars then most alcoholic drinks can add a substantial amount of extra calories to the diet. For this reason many experts recommend limiting consumption of alcohol when trying to lose weight.
But how does alcohol make you fat?
The energy from alcohol cannot be stored so it must be oxidised and converted into energy for immediate use by the cells. While our body uses up all the alcohol circulating in the blood, the oxidation of fats, carbohydrates and protein becomes suppressed; because of this more of these macronutrients are forced into storage than under normal conditions without alcohol. Alcohol can make you fat in an indirect manner.
Is it possible to lose weight with a diet that includes alcohol?
Like with everything in dieting, losing weight is mainly based on a calorie controlled intake, that is, providing you consume less energy than your body needs then weight can be lost. In other words, it would be possible to lose weight even if alcohol is consumed daily. The problem here is maintaining your target calorie intake; including alcohol regularly would inevitably require little food consumption to account for the high energy content of the alcohol, and thus a lower intake of essential nutrients could make it detrimental to health. Deficiency in vitamins would eventually result in low energy levels for activities which burn the fat from stores, plus lower protein consumption would eventually result in loss of even more lean muscle thus lowering your metabolism to a point where you simply cannot maintain a negative energy balance required to lose further weight.
My advice is stay away from alcohol as much as possible while attempting to lose weight. Eat more nutritious whole foods that have a high nutrient and low energy ratio.