Losing fat means meeting and beating a lot of resistance along the way. Alcohol is one of those fat loss deterrents that can slow results down, but is it as bad as people say?
Myth 2 – You can’t drink liquor if you want to lose fat.
Let’s preface the following information by stating that fat loss all comes down to the amount of calories burned vs calories ingested. You can’t beat that system but it’s never as easy as A+B=C and there’s no reason you can’t have the occasional drink and still achieve fat loss.
The thermic effect of food (TEF) is what we’ll be looking at today. That’s a fancy term for describing a physiological process whereby your body burns x amount of calories to digest and use y amount of calories that you ingest.
Protein ranks highest for TEF and 20-30% of the calories you consume from protein are instantly used up by your metabolism. If you eat 6oz of chicken breast for supper, you’ll be getting about 50 grams of protein. That’s 200 calories consumed and 30 to 60 calories of that gets used up to digest those other calories.
TEF is pretty cool!
Carbohydrates have a low TEF of about 5% and fat, unfortunately, gets the lowest TEF marks of all, coming in at about 2%. If you’re over your daily caloric requirements for TDEE, you can pretty much be assured that excess fat is going to get stored on your love handles.
So where does alcohol come into this conversation?
Alcoholic beverages have a TEF of nearly 20% – second only to the mighty protein macronutrient. For every 100 calorie alcoholic beverage, you can subtract 20. The good news doesn’t stop there, either.
Alcohol doesn’t get utilized in the same way that other calories do. It’s converted to acetate by the liver and that’s a toxin that the body instantly treats as a priority in terms of ridding it from your system.
In short, it’s very difficult for your body to turn acetate into fat.
The downside is that alcohol tends to give people the munchies so they’ll often eat more and when excess calories are paired with a lot of alcohol consumption, fat gets stored. You can get around this by simply enjoying your liquor without eating and pick a different day to indulge in calories.
Remember that protein is the best choice of foods when you’re drinking and excess carbs are easily converted to fat so stay away from the chips. You don’t want to kill that buzz anyway. Also be aware that beer contains the most calories of any alcohol drink so try and hit the hard stuff.
Vodka and steak, anyone? Surprisingly, it’s a great prescription for losing fat.