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Lose the booze and weight!


Alcohol is high in calories. However, if you are serious about losing weight, you do not have to abstain from it completely, but rather know your limits.

The body gives alcohol a different treatment. It is fast-tracked straight from the stomach to the bloodstream, and then to the liver. Half of the alcohol will be absorbed just ten minutes after having a drink, and all of it within an hour. This is even faster if you drink on an empty stomach. This occurs because alcohol is a toxin, so the body's aim is to get it to the liver (the body's detox plant) as fast as possible.

However, the liver can only break down about one unit of alcohol per hour, and any amount above this is turned away as it arrives at the liver and sent back into the bloodstream, to circulate around the body. This causes damaging effects to all the cells it comes into contact with – until the liver can process it.  

In addition, while the liver is dealing with an alcohol battle, it's distracted from its other important functions. This leads to a build-up of fatty substances in the liver, which prevents it from working properly.  

'Fatty liver' is the first stage of liver disease seen in heavy drinkers but it can be reversed if they stop drinking. But if they continue to drink, liver cells die, and there is a progression eventually to irreversible cirrhosis.

Drinking tips for lean guys:

  • Watch the glass size.  A one-unit wine glass is a tiny 125ml – a size that doesn't exist any more. Standard is 175ml, and large can be up to 250ml. 

  • Go slow - no more than one unit per hour. If you drink alcohol faster than the liver can handle it, it'll build up in your bloodstream, intensifying its inebriating effects and making you less able to say no to the next pint.

  • Steer clear of Premium. Premium lager and strong vintage ciders pack a far heftier punch than their less alcoholic cousins. That's where the calories lurk!   

  • Steer clear of sweetness. Added sugar bumps up the calorie count – sweet wines and ciders are more calorific than drier versions, and syrupy liquors (especially the creamy ones with their added fat) are worst of all.

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. Not only will this slow down your drinking, and limit the number of alcohol calories you consume, it will help to rehydrate you, reducing the threat of a hangover.

  • Eat before you go out, not after. Eating a healthy snack or meal beforehand will line your stomach and slow the uptake of alcohol into your bloodstream, so you'll be less likely to make decisions that spell disaster for your waistline. Alcohol clouds your judgement, so any health resolutions are likely to fly out the window after a few drinks. And research has shown that if you drink with a meal you'll eat more, as well as eat more fats.


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