Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
Obi Obadike
obadike1

Ask The Ripped Dude: Can You Booze It And Still Lose It?

Ask The Ripped Dude: Can You Booze It And Still Lose It?

I've written more than 100 fitness articles that have been published all over the world. My goal is to help you get in the best shape possible.
Q

I'd really like to meet my fat-loss goals, but I'm worried my nightly glass of wine is going to keep me from getting there. What do you think, Obi? Should I ditch the drink?

We've all seen the guy with the giant belly and thought, "Whoa, that dude drinks a lot of beer!" Many people believe that even a small amount of alcohol will somehow transform their trim waistlines into Death-Star-sized guts. "That's no moon! It's a beer belly!"

While it's probably safe to assume that excess calories will cause excess fat, alcohol doesn't magically pack on the pounds. However, alcohol is calorically dense and can temporarily hinder fat metabolism.

Should you ditch the drink? Pull up a barstool and I'll fill you in!

Alcohol's Effects

As you may know, carbs and protein contain four calories per gram, while fats have nine. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, and is processed differently from the other macronutrients. Alcohol is not an essential nutrient. When ingested, your body typically identifies alcohol as a toxin and works furiously to remove it.

Alcohol Answers

12 oz of Beer = 153 calories and 13.9 grams of alcohol

12 oz of Light Beer = 103 calories and 11 grams of alcohol

5 oz of Red Wine = 125 calories and 15.6 grams of alcohol

3 oz of Sake = 117 calories and 14.1 grams of alcohol

1.5 oz of Liquor = 97 calories and 14 grams of alcohol

Alcohol has a negative reputation in the fitness community. Part of it stems from the fact that alcohol severely lowers the body's fat oxidation rate. A study published in the American Journal of College of Nutrition1 found that, when men were given two drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade, their lipid oxidation dropped by 73 percent!

Lipid oxidation is a measure of how much fat your body is burning. So, even though the cocktails in question were only 90 calories each, they had a huge impact on the drinkers' fat-burning power.

You can see this effect in the figure below, which shows fat oxidation before and after alcohol consumption.

Rather than getting stored as fat, alcohol is converted to a substance called acetate. In the study, subjects had a blood acetate level two and a half times higher than normal. This sharp rise in acetate puts the brakes on fat loss.

Of the 24 grams of alcohol that was consumed in the study, only 3-5 percent was turned to fat. Our body responds to alcohol much as it deals with excess carbs. Alcohol isn't necessarily evil because it's always stored as fat, but because it reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

Furthermore, alcohol can make you want to eat more. According to one study reported in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders2, a group of men ate more food when the meal was served with beer or wine rather than a soft drink.

As it turns out, the "drunchies" are real. (Yes, the "drunk munchies.") A 2002 study in Denmark verified that alcohol can work as a potent appetite stimulant.

There's Hope!

Before you go drowning your fat-loss sorrows in more booze, you should know that it is still possible to lose weight while consuming alcohol.

A German study3 assigned 49 overweight subjects to one of two 1,500 calorie diets. The first group's diet included a glass of wine every day, while the other group drank a glass of grape juice.

The wine group actually lost 10.4 pounds, while the juice drinkers lost 8.3 pounds. When used sparingly, alcohol can be a part of a healthy meal plan. In other words, moderation is the key.

Now, I'm not an alcohol drinker myself. The Ripped Dude never gets "ripped," as in two sheets to the wind. Nor am I advocating that you go out and get drunk. I will say, however, that consuming small amounts of alcohol each day—say, a glass of wine with dinner—is probably not going to make you gain fat. It won't even prevent you from reaching your fat-loss goals.

References
  1. Cordain L, Bryan ED, Melby CL, Smith MJ. (1997). Influence of moderate daily wine consumption on body weight regulation and metabolism in healthy free-living males. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 16, 134-139.
  2. Buemann, B., Toubro, S., & Astrup, A. (2002). The effect of wine or beer versus a carbonated soft drink, served at a meal, on ad libitum energy intake. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 26, 1367-1372
  3. Flechtner-Mors, M., Biesalski, H.K., Jenkinson, C.P., Adler, G., & Ditschuneit, H.H. (2004). Effects of moderate consumption of white wine on weight loss in overweight and obese subjects. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 28, 1420-1426

Transform Your Body

Recommended For You

ASK THE RIPPED DUDE: "WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO QUIT THE WEIGHT-LOSS/WEIGHT-GAIN CYCLE?"

Staying in shape 365 days per year can be a challenge, but if you can break out of the gain/loss cycle, it's one you can conquer.

ASK THE RIPPED DUDE: "HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY VERTICAL JUMP?"

Does your vertical jump fall short? Learn how to reach higher and propel forward with these workout tips!

ASK THE RIPPED DUDE: "HOW CAN I CHISEL MY CHEST?"

Is your chest sunken rather soaring? No worries! Learn the key to building primo pecs with this chest-contouring workout.

Related Articles

About The Author

Known as ''The World Most Ripped Fitness Model,'' he's very passionate about educating people all over the world about health and fitness.

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
8.8

Out of 10
Excellent
35 Ratings

34

Comments

Showing 1 - 25 of 34 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
cjdaylax429

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
cjdaylax429

Great article..I only drink one night a week. But I make it count, sometimes having up to 10 drinks. I can tell this puts a huge damper on my muscle gains and fat loss. I feel like everything good I did during the week is erased because of all of the alcohol I consumed in the one night. I'm working on slowing down a lot. Anyone else feel the same way?

Sep 26, 2012 8:14pm | report
 
littlechampion

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
littlechampion

I rarely have more than a drink or two any given week, but when I do go overboard I feel as though my workouts are substantially harder next time I'm in the gym.
If you spread those 10 drinks evenly over the course of the week, your body would have a much easier time metabolizing the alcohol, and it would have an easier time maintaining normal metabolic processes. Of course, then you don't get drunk, so there's a tradeoff.

Oct 4, 2013 12:28pm | report
DynamiteSlick

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
DynamiteSlick

Champion, put a pic of yourself without a shirt to prove what u got and what u know.

CJ, where you at with your gains?

One night a week won't damage yourself with consumption alone, but if the effects linger into consecutive days then that binging poses a problem, because it is detracting from your workouts. What's more important, getting f'ed up one night where you don't remember the night with friends, and being unable to function for 36 hours, dehydrated, malnourished, then trying to start the workout week right? I guarantee if you spread the total quantity of drink you consume on the one night a week evenly among the seven, you will feel better every night, and achieve a higher success rate towards your goal, given that your goal is clearly defined and quantifiably measured.

Champion, until you post an 8 pack pic, I'm assuming your a chub that consumes far too much protein. What do you got?

Jun 13, 2014 12:28am | report
JRose13

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
JRose13

whats the point of drinking a glass of wine a night, when people ask that question, a majority of the time they are getting drunk, not drinking a glass of wine

Sep 26, 2012 10:38pm | report
 
Arodr58

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Arodr58

Some people drink because they enjoy the taste of a glass of wine before bed or with dinner, not to get wasted. :)

Sep 27, 2012 5:01pm | report
DynamiteSlick

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
DynamiteSlick

arodr58,,,,,, lame. If you enjoy one, you enjoy 3. Well stated JRose. Plus, wine goes bad after a day or two so get your money's worth and finish that bottle. Arodr, you're a chick, so maybe one glass gets you nice n' tipsy, which is a respectable trait in a woman. You have a lower weight so you don't tolerate as much. JRose, keep doing what you're doing and one day maybe we'll see littlechampion at the bar, chubbed out, faded off a gorilla ****. If he's a teenager I feel bad.. LMFAO

Jun 13, 2014 12:31am | report
MysteriousPete

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
MysteriousPete

I've often thought about my alcohol consumption and how it might affect my progress. I don't drink a lot, maybe five or six drinks a week, so it's good to know it won't be having too much of negative impact.

Article Rated:
Sep 27, 2012 1:29am | report
 
DynamiteSlick

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
DynamiteSlick

If your 6 foot, and 13% at 174, you can afford to drink a bit more. And eat more. 13% is high for 174 and 6'. You BMI is probably way low, but the 13% body fat doesn't equate. Are your legs just mush or what? C'mon mys pete. Step it up. Weight up and lower the fat.

Jun 13, 2014 12:33am | report
sarahbeanz

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
sarahbeanz

I enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner. It helps me wind down from the day at work. I do also sometimes go to the pub with friends and over indulge...but this isn't very common and hasn't made a huge difference to my fat loss.

Sep 27, 2012 3:39am | report
 
Joedzilla

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Joedzilla

Very nice article, thanks for the information. I really enjoy my treat meal of the week with a glass of red wine, after reading this i know i may be fine.

Sep 27, 2012 7:24am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 176.37 lbs
  • bf: 17.0%
DynamiteSlick

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
DynamiteSlick

joedzilla, I'm your height, 12 pounds heavier and 14% less fat than you. What is your cheat meal??? How much cardio you doing? Serious, don't lie, you got a recent shot? Hopefully the black and white with your filter and shadowing was when you just started. Ask my BevMo clerk, I'm almost platinum in sales there.

People have different starting points and I don't wanna discourage you or anyone, but as long as your diet is 96% on point, your cardio at 80% efficiency and you lift, you won't need to worry about alcohol, you'll be looking good.

I hope everyone has kept up with their goals and quarter turns over the past two years and you need a re eval,, contact me.

Dave

Jun 13, 2014 12:37am | report
jmaxeden

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jmaxeden

Thanks man!

Sep 27, 2012 9:55am | report
 
Matt360

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Matt360

This is a great way to think about alcohol. It's not so much the calories consumed but the fact that your body stops doing everything else and starts to get rid of the alcohol first. I've sabatoged my gains for too long now. Working to only drink on the weekends now in moderation....

Sep 27, 2012 11:21am | report
 
LithiuM23

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
LithiuM23

Luckilly I only drink about once a year or so, but this was a very helpful article. Thanks! :)

Sep 27, 2012 4:56pm | report
 
ExPwner

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
ExPwner

I don't drink and for 2 reasons:

1) The issues with fat loss/gain, as mentioned here.
2) The effects on muscle protein synthesis.

My issue is more with #2 than #1. I know how to lose fat, but it's the muscle that I really need.

Sep 27, 2012 4:59pm | report
 
Morentz

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Morentz

I've been struggling with balancing my gym goals and my social life.

Throughout my first year of uni, I partied hard and gymed, but I only maxed out ~95kg bodyweight. My dieting was consistent, but slacked a bit after drinking, and drinking makes you lazy as well.

Over summer, I've been 100% dedicated to the gym, and gone up to 105kg bodyweight. I do not miss alcohol at all, I went out for the first time in 2 months, last week, and i regret it if I'm honest.

I much prefer being healthy and jacked.

Sep 27, 2012 5:07pm | report
 
Undertaker09

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Undertaker09

I would much rather be healthy and ripped than lazy and fat.

May 7, 2014 11:37am | report
blackgable

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
blackgable

Decent article. I believe the whole thing of alcohol affecting your weight loss and/or muscle gain goals has definitely been overexaggerated. I once lost pounds from jogging a couple miles while I was drinking a couple of 40 ounces of beer per week. I learned from experience its all about WHAT you eat ALONG with how much you drink.

Sep 27, 2012 5:49pm | report
 
bronk55

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
bronk55

If you are serious about your training you should not drink alcohol at ALL... It's POISON! In addition it's empty calories and it takes away from your workout the next day. Therefore making it a triple threat

When it comes to serious training there is no place for alcohol, period.

Sep 27, 2012 8:47pm | report
 
belin

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
belin

Great article

Sep 27, 2012 9:04pm | report
 
tanner1129

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
tanner1129

This article inspired me tonight to have half a blue moon followed by a twenty min jog.

Sep 27, 2012 10:08pm | report
 
transformerchad

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
transformerchad

THE HERB doesnt harm u like alcohol does ;)

Sep 28, 2012 6:22am | report
 
hannahlynne102

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
hannahlynne102

lol so true!!

Sep 28, 2012 8:45am | report
nickiers

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
nickiers

cthu too funny

Sep 28, 2012 11:27am | report
Undertaker09

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Undertaker09

Agree 100%. Stay lifted. lol

May 7, 2014 11:38am | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 34 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com