Can You Boost Weight Loss by Quitting Alcohol?

weight loss by quitting alcoholIs quitting alcohol enough to let you achieve your weight loss goals? Is your drinking really having that much of an impact on your body?  Even if it isn’t the only thing you need to do to reach your goal, can it make a big difference?

The Weight Loss Impact of Quitting Alcohol

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that alcoholic drinks contain calories but do not provide any nutritional benefit.  This helps to explain why they’re commonly known as “empty calories”.  They don’t give anything beneficial to your body, but they can work against your efforts to lose weight.

That said, quitting alcohol doesn’t automatically mean that you will experience weight loss.  It can help, but it may not be the one defining change you need to make to reach your health goals.

If you’re drinking regularly or in large amounts, quitting alcohol may indeed contribute to a broader weight loss effort.  It will help you to cut back on the calories you’re consuming, particularly because they don’t benefit you in any nutritional way and don’t help you to feel fuller.  In essence, this helps to eliminate calories that aren’t otherwise benefiting you. They’re not helping you to be healthier or stave off hunger.

What Does Research Say?

Quitting alcohol if you take in only a moderate amount won’t play much of a role on your obesity risk, according to a 2015 paper published in Current Obesity Reports.  A moderate amount is defined as one daily drink for women or two for men.

On the other hand, heavy drinking – more than one per day for women or two for men – or binge drinking in particular (five or more drinks in one sitting) considerably increased obesity risk.  Older adults and adolescents were found to be particularly at risk from these habits.

At the same time, those drinking habits could act against other efforts to lose weight.  As a result, while quitting drinking won’t necessarily mean that all weight loss will occur automatically, it may mean that your other strategies for controlling calories, carbs, sugars and other nutritional components will be easier and potentially more effective.   After all, alcohol – and many mixers – are typically quite high in carbs and sugars, so even if you’re not counting calories, your eating strategy will still likely benefit from cutting back on drinking alcoholic beverages.  At the same time, you’ll make a difference to your overall health.