It may not come as a huge surprise to anyone that drinking alcohol whilst trying to lose body fat is not ideal. If that has come as a surprise, you are probably still drunk. Drinking is part of our culture and is heavily used for social occasions, getting through a visit from the in-laws or providing you with a personality. But where does booze fit in when trying to lose a few pounds?

The Calories

The biggest issue with drinking on a fat loss diet is the amount of calories it contains. You can easily knock back a 1000 kcals in a night without getting any nutritional benefit or any feeling of being full. Alcohol contains 7 Kcal per gram, where as protein and carbs only contain 4 kcals per gram. With the fact that it is very easily consumed you could easily tip the scales in the wrong direction.

Drinking Alcohol During Fat Loss

Even if you were tracking calories and you managed to include a good piss up in those numbers, you will be suffering in other aspects. Maintaining your calorie balance is key for fat loss but health is also important. This is especially true for those on low calories (small females or those in an aggressive calorie deficit). Ideally you will be eating a diet filled with fruit and veg, high protein sources and a mix of whole grains. Try to squeeze a boozy night out in there and you start pushing out some of the good stuff.

Lowers Inhibitions

Alcohol makes us do stupid things. After a few too many shandys we have all made inappropriate choices in life (take most of my ex-girlfriends as an example of this). Drink lowers our risk management and your brain enters a mode I like to call “fuck it, sober Chris can worry about that”. This same principle applies to food. If you have been a mental fortress all week and denied yourself of  certain foods and drinks, after a few drinks, this all goes out the window. When we go out for a drink we are usually also surrounded by tempting, high calorie, easily consumed foods. Beige buffets, fast food and tempting takeaways are all at our fingertips.

What to do about it?

I’m not going to bore you with a long list of how alcohol is the devil, as we already know it’s not going to be a great choice. What I would like to do is share a couple of tips to help moderate alcohol.

Avoid it

If drink makes you fat (by consuming too many calories), then don’t drink. Not very helpful advice but could be an option. Try to limit the amount of social situations or occasions where you are likely to go off the rails. We all have that certain friend or group of friends that are known for leading you astray. Try and lay low for a little while and break that cycle of piss up, binge eat and repeat.

Set a limit

Unfortunately we cant just do whatever we want and still get results. There needs to be restrictions in place and boundaries set. If you plan to go out with some friends, set a 2 drink limit and stick to it. If you want to have a massive piss up, then don’t expect decent results.  

Plan for it

Planning is key. Most social situations are planned in advance and you know where you are going. If you know you are likely to consume more calories on Saturday night, then hold some back from the week to offset this. Plan how many drinks you are likely to drink and calculate it on MyFitnessPal.

Lower calorie options

Instead of smashing back 10 pints of ale at 240 kcals a drink, try opting for a lower calorie alternative. Spirits with diet mixers can be a good alternative (this doesn’t mean you can have twice as many). Avoid drinks such as cocktails, liqueurs and beers.

Prep food

Having a drink isn’t the end of the world. Okay, you may add some extra calories in your diet but we can handle that. The problem often comes after having a drink. Shovelling in food like it’s going out of fashion. The hangover foods are all high in calories and are very easily consumed. I would recommend prepping your food for the next day before you go out on the piss. If you have nice meals available you will be less likely to order a pizza and be a sofa bear.


Drinking water before, during and after alcohol can help prevent over consuming alcohol. It can increase the feeling of being full and stop you feeling so rough the next day. Just be prepared for your mates to rip the piss out of you for skipping a round for a water.


We all know drink isn’t the best choice, especially when trying to lose a few pounds. If you are going to drink then try and limit calorie intake and don’t drink like a dickhead. You can’t expect to go out and smash 10 pints, get in a fight and be in good shape. There has to be some sort of restriction. Drink can be consumed, but all with carefully controlled limits.  

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