We deal with people looking to lose weight all the time. In fact, the demand for weight loss treatment, advice and guidance has never been higher.
One question we’re often asked centres around alcohol.
Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight?
The short answer is yes. You can lose weight and still have a moderate alcohol intake.
But it’s important we look at moderate and consider the calories in alcohol. So here’s what you need to know.
You don’t have to be teetotal to lose weight
According to recent alcohol consumption statistics in the UK, over 71% of Brits enjoy a tipsy tipple at least once a week.
And if that’s a single glass of wine or a gin and tonic, it’s unlikely that this will derail your weight loss efforts.
A small glass of wine contains around 100 calories. So if you’re on, say, 1,800 calories per day, it’s less than 6% of your daily intake.
A single measure gin with a slimline tonic can be as little as 60 calories.
A pint of lager, on the other hand, is 180 calories or so.
With that in mind, here are our key considerations in terms of alcohol while losing weight.
Factor alcohol into your food and drink intake
The calories from drinks are easily omitted if you’re calorie tracking. But having 6 glasses of wine over a week is 600 calories so that can indeed make a difference.
Track your alcohol calories the same way you would any if you are keeping an eye on your calories.
Make Sensible Swaps
A gin and tonic is 60 calories while a pint of lager is 180 or so.
If you’re drinking a few on a social event or similar, maybe consider what you’re drinking if you’re on a weight loss plan.
Alternating Alcoholic Drinks with Low Calories or Calorie Free Soft Drinks
Ensuring a glass of water or a low calorie soft drink in between alcoholic drinks on a night out can help to decrease your alcohol intake substantially.
Drinking every single day has far greater potential problems than just your weight.
The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units per week spread over 3 days. And ensuring you have days in the week where you’re not drinking alcohol at all is important for your liver health.
Alcohol and weight loss medications
Now, if you’re taking weight loss medication, you may be wondering whether you can drink alcohol on Saxenda, Orlistat or Wegovy. So here’s what you need to know.
- Saxenda: You should drink in moderation only on Saxenda. While taking Saxenda you’re generally eating less and thus drinking alcohol can be a risk for low blood sugar.
- Wegovy: As with Saxenda, drinking too much could be a risk for low blood sugar. So moderation is key and typically no more than one or two alcoholic drinks per day
- Orlistat: Again it is ok to drink on Orlistat (moderation once again)
Losing weight ultimately comes down to using up more calories than you consume. Alcohol can be considered “empty calories.”
But equally, weight loss is typically more effective when it’s sustainable. So being able to enjoy the odd drink with friends, if it’s something you’ve always done, may be important to factor in.
The key is moderation.