Q: Dear Tom: What about alcohol? How does that fit into your burning fat program? I am not talking binge drinking, just one or two a day.
A: A couple drinks on the weekend and or on special ocassions probably won’t have any major impact on your fat loss results (although I would encourage you to consider the mindset that EVERYTHING you do either helps or hurts).
A drink or two on ocassion is a part of enjoying life for many people, and it’s important to find lifestyle balance for the sake of your long term happiness and success.
However, I do not recommend drinking every day.
“A couple every day” adds a LOT of extra calories to your daily diet. If you’re talking about two 150-calorie beers, thats 300 calories extra a day or 2100 extra calories a week.
Multiply that out for a year and you have 109,200 extra calories! WOW! That’s potentially 31.2 pounds of fat in a year.
If you DO account for the calories in those drinks, then you have another conundrum – the alcohol calories displace good valuable food calories…
Drinking gives you empty alcohol calories with virtually no nutritional value (and some negative value in more way than one), while pushing out important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, fiber and other good stuff.
Alcohol also inhibits fat burning. While your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, it puts your fat metabolism on hold. That’s why I do NOT recommend any drinking when you are on a fat loss program (at least if you are serious about it).
When you are on a regular, year-round lifestyle/maintenance program I recommend that if you drink, you do so in moderation, keep it to special occasions or weekends and remember to factor in those calories to your daily intake.
By the way, there’s a major risk to drinking every day – even just one or two – that most people don’t even think about:
Daily drinking is habit forming. Anything you do every day easily becomes a habit that is difficult to break later.
On the other hand, if you could establish the habit of eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables and getting some exercise every single day, those would be habits worth forming!
let me know how else I can help. This question comes up often, so I did cover alcohol and fat loss in much greater detail in chapter 13 of the Burn the Fat book: www.burnthefat.com