Alcohol and Weight Loss by Best Nutritionist in Dubai Abhinav Malhotra

Alcohol and Weight Loss

Though not an essential one, technically alcohol is a macronutrient. Drinking alcohol is a favorite pastime for many people and it has both social and cultural acceptance. Also, some studies suggest that alcohol can have health benefits.

But it is very important to remember that alcohol plays a large role in weight management. Therefore, the question is how much alcohol should we consume? Being on weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to cut alcohol entirely out of diet.

In this article, we discuss based on science the benefits one gets by cutting alcohol out of diet when trying to lose weight and at the same time, how one can still continue to enjoy alcohol.

The benefits of cutting alcohol

Alcohol impacts sleep quality and consequently hunger, mood and ability to train. This in itself is a big cause to cut alcohol.

Alcoholic drinks are often referred to as “empty” calories because they provide your body with calories but contain very little nutrients. Consider that there are almost 155 calories in a 12-ounce can of beer and 125 calories in a 5-ounce glass of red wine. A night or day spent with a few drinks can lead to consuming some hundreds of extra calories. It will eat into your calorie deficit when dieting and will cause you to store an unnecessary amount of fat when bulking. The only way to compensate this is by reducing the calories from other “healthier and useful” macronutrients.


Let’s assume you’re aiming for 1 lb. of fat loss per week and that you need a 500 kcal deficit (550 kcal for 0.5 kg).

Even if you have been good with your diet plan, with just two large whiskeys (~250 kcal), two pints of beer (~300 kcal) or two large glasses of wine (~400 kcal) to “wind down” during the evening, you’ve just erased 50–80% of your efforts.

Then there are other factors that can cause weight gain outside of calorie content.

When we consume alcohol, it is burned first as a fuel source before our body uses anything else and which includes glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats. When body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess glucose and lipids end up, unfortunately for us, as adipose tissue, or fat.

We all know that alcohol contributes to excess belly fat, “the beer gut”. Extra calories from beer end up stored as fat in the body. The body tends to accumulate this fat in the abdominal area.

Alcohol lowers inhibitions and generally leads to poor decision-making when it comes to food choices. Even the most die-hard diet fans have a hard time fighting the urge to dig into food when intoxicated with alcohol. A recent animal study has found that mice given ethanol over a period of three days demonstrated a significant increase in food intake. This study suggested that alcohol actually triggers hunger signals in the brain, leading to an increased urge to eat more food.

Finally, alcohol intake can lead to impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients. This can greatly affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management.

Therefore, for weight management consider ordering zero-alcohol drinks. While cutting alcohol completely out of diet isn’t necessarily the only way to lose weight, many improvements can be made in weight management by simply cutting back on alcohol.

Does this mean zero alcohol?

One can still enjoy alcohol by replacing drinks high in sugar or calories, with some of the following lower calorie options.

  1. Vodka (80-proof) has 100 calories in 1.5 ounces. Choose low-calories mixers such as club soda and avoid overly sugary juices.
  2. Whiskey (86-proof) has 100 calories in 1.5 ounces. Choose to take whiskey on the rocks instead of mixing with anything high calorie such as cola.
  3. Gin (90-proof) has 115 calories in 1.5 ounces. Aim for something simple such as martini.
  4. Tequila has 100 calories in 1.5 ounces. Tequila “shot” is just salt, tequila, and lime.
  5. Brandy has 100 calories in 1.5 ounces.

Therefore, if you do plan to drink then select wisely and drink in moderation within your calorie limit. If you have any medical conditions then definitely consult your doctor for advice related to alcohol.

And sometimes if you do end up drinking a lot more, just put in that much more efforts into your workouts. Ask your personal trainer and nutritionist to customize your workouts and diet because their specialized guidance will help you to properly overcome the excess calorie intake.

Below we share the calorie count of various alcoholic beverages so that you can better decide which drinks you can have in a day as per your daily calorie limit.

Beer (light) 12 oz (355 ml) 103
Beer (regular) 12 oz (355 ml) 153
Beer (higher alcohol, craft beers) 12 oz (355 ml) 170 to 350
Distilled Alcohol
Gin (80 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 97
Gin (94 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 116
Rum (80 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 97
Rum (94 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 116
Vodka (80 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 97
Vodka (94 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 116
Whiskey (80 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 97
Whiskey (94 proof) 1.5 oz (45 ml) 116
Coffee liqueur 1.5 oz (45 ml) 160
Coffee liqueur with cream 1.5 oz (45 ml) 154
Crème de menthe 1.5 oz (45 ml) 186
Mixed Drinks
Bloody Mary 4.6 oz (136 ml) 120
Chocolate martini 2.5 oz (74 ml) 418
Cosmopolitan 2.75 oz (81 ml) 146
Daiquiri 2.7 oz (80 ml) 137
Highball 8 oz (235 ml) 110
Hot buttered rum 8 oz (235 ml) 292
Mai Tai 4.9 oz (145 ml) 306
Margarita 4 oz (120 ml) 168
Mimosa 4 oz (120 ml) 75
Mint Julep 4.5 oz (135 ml) 165
Mojito 6 oz (177 ml) 143
Pina colada 6.8 oz (200 ml) 526
Rum and Coke 8 oz (235 ml) 185
Rum and Diet Coke 8 oz (235 ml) 100
Tequila sunrise 6.8 oz (200 ml) 232
Vodka and tonic 7 oz (207 ml) 189
Whiskey sour 3 oz (89 ml) 125
White Russian 8 oz (235 ml) 568
White table wine 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Gewurztraminer 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Muscat 5 oz (145 ml) 129
Riesling 5 oz (145 ml) 129
Chenin Blanc 5 oz (145 ml) 129
Chardonnay 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Sauvignon Blanc 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Fume Blanc 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Pinot Grigio 5 oz (145 ml) 128
Dry dessert wine 3.5 oz (90 ml) 157
Red table wine 5 oz (145 ml) 125
Petite Sirah 5 oz (145 ml) 125
Merlot 5 oz (145 ml) 122
Cabernet Sauvignon 5 oz (145 ml) 122
Red Zinfandel 5 oz (145 ml) 129
Burgundy 5 oz (145 ml) 122
Pinot Noir 5 oz (145 ml) 121
Claret 5 oz (145 ml) 122
Syrah 5 oz (145 ml) 122
Red dessert wine 3.5 oz (90 ml) 165

Please contact me to learn what I and my team can do through our nutrition and personal training services for kids, teens, adults, elders, athletes and models in Dubai, UAE to achieve your muscle gain, strength gain, fat loss, weight loss and figure / physique transformation goals.

Many female and male clients including kids, teens, adults and elderly people have greatly benefited from Abhinav’s strong experience as a top personal trainer and nutritionist in Dubai, UAE. You can see some of his client transformations here.

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Calories in drinks Source.

About Author

Abhinav Malhotra

Abhinav Malhotra is an award-winning personal trainer, coach and sports nutritionist in Dubai, UAE. He also offers online services to clients around the world. A personal trainer par excellence, Abhi has worked with the world’s leading fitness chains, supplement brands and founded his own fitness academy in India. He has achieved successes for many clients from all backgrounds and has trained the Indian Army Rugby Team. He is the first International Kettlebell Sport athlete from India.

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