Is Alcohol Sabotaging Your Diet?

So my nutrition consultations often go something like this…

“I’m eating all the right stuff, I cut out soda, I cut out sweet, I just don’t get it!”

“How often do you consume alcoholic beverages?”


Let’s face it, dieting is tough. You feel like you’re giving up all of your favorite things, paying lots of attention to what you are eating…but are you counting what you are drinking?

Even if you are a moderate drinker (as in 1-2 drinks a day), those empty calories can add up quickly. As in an additional 1000 calories or more each week. (For heavier drinkers, that could easily be each day!)

For example:

A single glass of wine is 5 ounces. Most restaurants pours are about 6-8 ounces. My wine glasses at home can hold 15 ounces! So much for “just one” glass of wine!

On average beer contains 90-300+ calories. Take that times the few beers you have after a long day.

Beyond just the added calories…just how else does alcohol effect your diet?

Alcohol slows the metabolism. When we eat food our body has to metabolize or break it down to be stored for energy. However, as alcohol can not be stored by our bodies, our body goes into attack mode immediately and begins breaking it down to get rid of it. While our bodies are busy breaking down the alcohol everything else we consume (nutrients/food) gets stored as body fat. Alcohol use overtime causes the metabolism to get slower and slower and we accumulate more and more body fat.

Alcohol can lead to unhealthy choices.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I am reaching for after a few drinks is a big ol’ plate of nachos. Studies prove that along side the empty calories we are drinking, we are also much more likely to reach for savory, high fat, sugar loaded foods when drinking.

Sleep and Alcohol…not the good combination you may think.

Whether it’s a glass of wine, a beer, a night cap…alcohol has a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. I wear an Oura Ring on a regular basis that measures my sleep quality. My scores are in THE TRASH not just the morning after, but for about the next three days after I had even one or two drinks.

That said, poor sleep is also going to have a huge impact on your weight loss. Crappy sleep leads to crappy food choices, leads to blocking your body ability to metabolize, leads to increases cortisol on and so forth. Studies have shown that even as little as .25 grams of alcohol per kg of body weight results in a 9% drop in quality of sleep. Heavier consumption can lead to a 39% drop in sleep quality. Add in that even if you can bring yourself to haul your butt to the gym the morning after drinking, that training session is sure to be a wash.

Soon, we’ll dive into some ways you can help limit the booze during social situations.  

Are You Someone 40+ Looking to Get In Shape, Stronger, and Feel Great?

Our Program Has Helped Hundreds Of People 40+ Get In The Best Shape Of Their Lives With 2-3 Workouts Per Week!

Michael Allen

Author Bio

Michael has been working with clients in the gym and countless adults in a physical therapy setting since 2013. He spent 3 semesters working at Towson University with student-athletes from nearly every sport at the school. He served as the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Kennard-Dale High School during the 2019-2020 school year. His goal is to always get better and give you the safest and most effective use of your time at First Capital Gym.