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Alcohol and Health

Why Cutting Alcohol Equals Weight Loss

February 6, 2023
10 min read
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A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
February 6, 2023
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
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Reframe Content Team
February 6, 2023
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As soon as you quit drinking, your bloodstream will start to clear up. It may take up to 30 days for your hormones to properly balance out. Even though it might feel like 30 days is a long time to wait, this brief period of rest can make a world of difference when it comes to health benefits and improving metabolism. After you put an end to binge drinking, those large plates of fries won’t look so appetizing. You’ll also reap the rewards of improved sleep and digestion.

Excessive drinking is not good for your health and can take a toll on your body, one way being how it affects your weight. When you stop drinking alcohol, you may experience some quick weight loss in the days immediately following. This is usually fluids or water weight you’re losing, although the research on how soon after quitting alcohol people lose weight is limited. In addition to the initial pounds lost, studies suggest that long-term abstaining from alcohol can lead to further reductions in calories and fat, thus helping with overall weight regulation. Quitting alcohol can definitely help when it comes to reaching long-term goals of weight management, but remember that a healthful diet and physical activity will also be factors contributing to success.

Reason #1: Fewer calories

Quitting alcohol is one of the most sensible and easy ways to reduce calories and lose weight. For many, cutting out alcohol can easily help them reduce their daily caloric intake from around 2,000 to 1,500 or even lower. How soon you start losing weight after quitting alcohol depends on how many calories those beverages contain. 

  • Can of beer — 154 calories
  • Glass of wine — 123 calories
  • Shot of whiskey — 105 calories
  • Gin & tonic — 170 calories
  • Sangria — 215 calories
  • Margarita — 200 calories
  • Mojito — 242 calories
  • Manhattan — 187 calories
  • Mimosa — 160 calories
  • Moscow mule — 182 calories

Reason #2: Better sleep

Research reveals that sustained sleep deprivation or sleep of low quality increases stress hormones, making it more difficult to burn fat. To reduce stress and take control of your weight goals, ensuring you get enough quality rest is key. Inadequate sleep can lead to hormonal changes which raise appetite — yet another reason why proper sleeping habits are so important. Keeping a regular sleeping schedule while cutting back on alcohol consumption could improve the quality of your rest and potentially decrease your cravings. 

Reason #3: Less sugar

Although it's easy to assume that most cocktails and mixers are high in added sugar, understanding how much natural sugar a glass of red wine or champagne contains is equally important. Grapes naturally contain sugars. Consuming 8 ounces of red wine or Champagne will give you around 2-3 grams of sugar — half the amount of sugar that is recommended for an entire day. It's important to note, however, that how soon after quitting alcohol you lose weight will depend on how much you've been drinking — higher quantities indicate higher sugar intake, which can result in weight gain as well as inflammation. The best way to ensure healthy weight loss is to limit your total sugar intake by reducing or eliminating sweeter alcoholic beverages and relying more on naturally sweetened drinks like red wine and Champagne.

Reason #4: Fewer cravings

It is commonly known that drinking alcohol can lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods. Right after consuming alcohol, the brain will often want more calories. This means that cutting out alcohol altogether can help reduce those pesky cravings and potentially give you the opportunity to break your dieting cycle.

Reason #5: Improved digestion

When it comes to alcohol intake, your body processes the alcohol before anything else, meaning that it can get used as an energy source instead of the glucose in carbohydrates you’ve consumed. This extra glucose is then likely to be stored as fat. As such, quitting drinking can lead to improved weight management since your stomach and intestines are able to break down and absorb more nutrients thanks to lower stress levels and fewer excess carbohydrates. 

Reason #6: Boosted metabolism

Quitting alcohol can have a great impact on your weight. When you give up alcohol, your metabolism is able to work more efficiently, enabling you to lose weight sooner than if you dieted but kept drinking. Alcohol is known to slow down how quickly the body burns fat while also increasing how easily glucose from carbs is converted into fat and stored away instead of used as fuel.

Reason #7: Enough energy to exercise

Alcohol consumption shrinks aerobic capacity and endurance. Any workouts taken on after drinking are usually less effective. Quitting alcohol could have an even greater positive impact; how soon after quitting do you actually start to see the benefits? Studies have found that within weeks of forgoing alcohol, there was an increase in metabolism and body fat burning; workout gains came later. Muscle gain is also significantly increased, showing how quitting alcohol can result in drastic changes when attempting to lose weight or gain muscle. Anything done with the goal of leaving out "liquid calories" will pay off in the end with long-lasting results.

Reason #8: Improved mental health

Alcohol can provide short-term pleasure for some people, but overconsumption and addiction can lead to deteriorated physical and emotional stability. When we choose to reduce or eliminate our alcohol intake, it gives our brains the opportunity to heal and manage emotions better. Many have seen substantial changes in how they take care of themselves, such as increased exercise, lower stress levels and healthier food choices — all leading to weight loss. The effects can be noticed soon after quitting alcohol as weight loss is often a very visible change in how we look. Reducing excessive drinking habits may require time and effort, but the astonishing health benefits are worth it.

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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