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Alcohol: How It Hinders Weight Loss

By Elisa - Jenny Craig

While what you eat directly impacts your weight loss progress–what’s in your glass matters too. Is alcohol hindering your weight loss goals?


Happy hours with co-workers, wine with dinner, and a beer (or two) with friends on the weekend can be a common occurrence - but how are those drinks affecting your weight loss goals? The glass is half-empty on this one: alcohol consumption can considerably slow down weight loss. From derailing your healthy eating habits to potentially harming your vital organs, here are five reasons why you should put the glass down:

Poor Food ChoicesAlcohol_PoorFoodChoices.jpg

Alcohol not only loosens inhibitions, but it can also impact your judgment when it comes to your food choices. If you’ve had a few drinks, you may be more easily tempted to eat salty and sugary foods, and you might even feel hungrier than if you hadn’t sipped a cocktail.1

Empty Calories

Just like soda and juice, a glass of alcohol is chock-full of empty calories, which aren’t helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. From sugar-laden margaritas to high-carb beers, these beverages contain little to no beneficial nutrients. Additionally, alcohol has almost twice as many calories per gram as healthy proteins and carbs, without the satiety.2 On average, a 5oz glass of wine or a bottle of beer contains around 150 calories,3 which means two glasses of wine every day is almost enough to gain one pound a week. By replacing your nightly drink with a no-calorie, flavored sparkling water, it may help your weight loss efforts.

Wasted Energy

When your body is burning alcohol, it’s not burning fat.4 As you imbibe, your body sees alcohol as energy before anything else that is nutritious, therefore postponing its metabolic process to burn fat. Skipping happy hour will help realign your metabolic processes and allow your body to go back to expending energy from your food intake.

Impairing Your Body

Not only can booze hinder your weight loss journey, but it can also hurt your heart, kidneys, immune system, skin, and brain. Alcohol can even irritate the lining of your stomach, interfering with the way food is digested, impacting healthy metabolic processes. But drinking is most destructive to your liver and can cause permanent damage to it over time, especially when binge drinking. The liver filters out toxins and processes the majority of the alcohol as energy, while the rest is expelled through urine, sweat, and breathing.5 Consuming more alcohol than your liver can process can lead to serious consequences, including alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.6

Disturbed SleepAlcohol_DisturbedSleep.jpg

It may be tempting to unwind after a long day with a glass of wine on the couch. However, one drink can easily turn into more which can lead to an unrestful night. Consuming alcohol has been shown to disrupt as well as impact your quality of sleep.7

Instead of grabbing that glass of wine at the end of the day, try meditating, reading a book, or taking a walk to relax - you may find yourself getting a better night’s rest.

Simple Swaps

Try one of these simple swaps to save yourself some calories. You may even find yourself feeling more refreshed and energized!


  • Alcohol_Alternatives.jpgFlavored Water – add cucumber, lemon or lime to water or seltzer water for a tasty twist.
  • Iced Tea – add lemon to unsweetened, iced tea for a refreshing beverage at any time of the day. Try herbal variations such as passion tea for a different flavor.
  • Kombucha – this bubbly, sparkling drink is made with fermented tea and may aid in digestion among other possible health benefits.


Skipping the cocktails and opting for an alternative healthy beverage can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals, and your liver will thank you!


Are you ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle by losing weight? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment






[1] https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/alcohol-hunger-and-appetite/

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/health/wine-waistline/index.html 

[3] https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Calculators/calorie-calculator.aspx 

[4] http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20670897,00.html 

[5] https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-ways-alcohol-hinders-fat-loss.html 

[6] https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arcr352/155-173.htm 

[7] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286827.php 

[8] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319630.php 


Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig

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On 7/4/2020 at 5:35 AM, Ms. ECZ said:

Typo- Under Empty Calories-the word is "chock full" not "chalk full".

Thank you for pointing that out, Ms. ECZ! We've made the update. We hope you enjoyed reading the article :)

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