Alcohol Slams The Brakes on Fat Loss

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One thing most of our clients at GCP love is some sort of alcohol. It is a conversation we have on a daily basis and for many, it’s a sticking point on why they struggle to lose weight. Today we are going to dive into the specifics of the number one thing we need people to understand about alcohol and its effect on weight loss.


Understanding the liver’s role in processing fat and alcohol is important.

  • FAT: The liver metabolizes fat
  • ALCOHOL: The liver breaks down alcohol

Since both fat and alcohol are processed through the liver, the liver has to make a choice when we drink. When we drink alcohol, the liver puts brakes on fat loss to process the alcohol first. Since alcohol is a poison, it has to become priority number one for the body. For a normal person who has a healthy liver, this process takes on average 10 hours. So this only leaves 14 hours in the day to burn fat.

Take that over a year of drinking 3 nights a week. That’s a minimum of 2,184 hours a year that your body isn’t processing fat. Imagine if you reduced that to one night a week. You would get 1,456 more hours of fat burning in one year alone. Think about that over a 10-year time span. Think about those 5 – 20 lbs that have appeared on your body over the last 10 years, and you just aren’t sure how they got there.

I understand that people use alcohol as a stress reliever, but there are so many other things out there to use. Exercise, walking, playing games with friends, talking to a spouse, the limitless uses of technology, and so much more. I’m not saying that you have to completely stop drinking, but limiting your alcohol intake can have a huge benefit over time. Some other sources have shown that alcohol not only stopped fat oxidation but also forced the body to make new fat in the liver. Along with this, alcohol metabolites are said to interfere with and stop access to stored fat during this time. Even if you are a fat-adapted person, this hurts your ability to pull from fat cells.


Here are some other things to keep in mind when we drink that can affect fat loss.

  • When we drink, we have a tendency to have less focus on our food and this can lead to overconsuming calories. Especially as you drink more, you’ll care less and less about your current goals and lose track of exactly how much food you are eating or how many calories you are drinking.
  • Even if you are not drinking a ton, the change of inhibitions leads to less desire to stay focused overall.
Eating off plan
  • Just like with overeating, you start to lose focus on what your goal is. Salty things are craved more as your level of dehydration increases. The sweets you didn’t plan on eating are now more enticing at the end of dinner and your ability to say no has slightly decreased. So willpower is not in your corner anymore.
  • If you came in with a certain carb level you needed to stay under, you will have more trouble doing this depending on what type of alcohol you drink. But no matter what, the carbs will start to add up.

How you can take action

Only drink one day a week

  • This is probably more realistic than asking someone to stop drinking. In our society, it’s a status symbol and we understand that it’s harder to not drink and handle that social pressure. So keep it to a minimum and remember your goals are important to you. And they should be more important than what your “so-called friends” think of you if you chose not to drink.
  • If you are really chasing a fat loss goal in a specific time frame, it really would make a world of difference for that window to cut out drinking altogether. The speed of change it would buy you is worth the sacrifice of a drink for a few weeks or months.

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