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There are a couple of ways that alcohol can prevent fat loss.

Calories

The extra calories from alcohol can add up. For example, a pint of lager or a large glass of wine is around 220 calories. If you have a bottle of wine or 5 pints then you’re talking around 1000 calories. Add to that the takeaway to go with it then that’s probably an extra 1500 calories. Then the next day when you’re just craving carbs the bacon sandwiches, KFC, pizza, toast etc then you might finish the day on 2500 calories (females) and 4000 – 5000 calories (males) – these are general figures, based on years of training countless people. 

With these kind of numbers, you can pretty much write of your calorie deficit for the week.

Fat Burning

Another issue with alcohol consumption is the effect it has on fat metabolism. Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat because your body can’t store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with “food” calories. So when you drink, your metabolic system stops what it’s doing (such as processing the calories from your last meal) and focuses on trying to remove the alcohol from your system.

A recent study has shown that even small amounts of alcohol can have a large impact on fat metabolism. In this study, participants were given two drinks of vodka and lemonade, separated by 30 minutes. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after consumption of the drink. For several hours after drinking the vodka, whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by 73%.

Health Impact

Kate Mendoza, head of health information at the World Cancer Research Fund says: ‘The calories in alcoholic drinks can account for a significant proportion of a drinker’s calorie consumption, while providing little, if any, nutritional benefit. Cutting down on drinking can have a big effect on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. Ms Mendoza continues, “‘This is important from a cancer perspective because, after smoking, being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor. There is also strong scientific evidence that alcohol itself is a cancer risk factor, possibly through damaging our DNA, in cancers of the breast, bowel, mouth, oesophagus and liver”.