Alcohol and your Fat Loss

A couple of people have asked recently about drinking alcohol, how much they can drink and what type of alcohol is better so I thought I share this with everyone.

There are 2 types of alcohol sources: fermented and distilled. Fermented alcohol includes wine and beer. Distilled alcohol is any type of liquor: Rum, vodka, bourbon, whiskey etc.

Fermented alcohol contains carbs, Distilled alcohol does not. During the fermentation process sugar (carbs) in the grain (beers) or grapes (wines) is converted to alcohol, however it isn’t converted 100% so the remaining sugar shows up on the label as carbs.

On the other hand the distillation process converts 100% of the sugar in the potatoes, rye, barley, etc into alcohol so no sugar remains.

In terms of which alcohol is better: Liquor contains 0 Carbs and is technically better.

But you also have to look at the number of calories and the amount of alcohol. There is a “standard of equivalence” that allows us to compare various type of booze.

The amount of alcohol is the same in 12 ounces of beer = 5 ounces of wine = 1 shot of ANY 80 proof distilled liquor, about .6 ounces.

The following list presents the calories, carbs and fat found in standard servings of both alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.

Beverage Calories     Carbs (grams)    Fat (grams)
Beer (regular) 146 13.13 .000
Beer (lite) 99 4.60 .000
All Distilled Spirits (rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, bourbon, etc.) 97 0.00 .000
Wine (red) 125 3.5 .000
Wine (white) 120 3.5 .000
  • Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 16-1. Available at

As you can see distilled spirits are lower in calories and have 0 carbs.

  • One thing most people are confused about is that alcohol is NOT converted to sugar in your body. In fact your blood sugar may actually go DOWN when you drink!
  • Non-alcoholic beers contain MORE carbs than regular beer, so if you are drinking a non-alcoholic beer to avoid carbs your getting more
  • If you use the Glycemic Index you’ll see that alcohol has a GI of 0
  • Your body will use alcohol as a fuel source before carbs, fats or proteins!
  • Alcohol can raise your metabolic rate because it’s used as a fuel for energy
  • Because it is used first for energy, fat burning stops while there is alcohol in the system, so don’t workout hard then drink beer or booze
  • You don’t get fat from distilled spirits, you get from the sugary mixes
  • One or two drinks per day can lead to lower BMI and better health without causing fat gain, however drinking 7-14 drinks in one day is detrimental to health
  • Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, more than protein and carbs (both contain 4 cals/gm) but 2 less than fat (9 cals/gm)
  • Avoid mixed drinks, they are typically VERY high in sugar

Now I’m not advocating you go out drinking every night and getting plastered, I don’t believe you should drink enough to get drunk at all, but sipping wine with your dinner or while watching TV is fine. Make sure you pay attention to the drink size. It’s very easy to drink more than 5 ounces of wine in the gigantic wine glasses many people have. If you aren’t sure how much 5 ounces is get a measuring cup. A shot is 1.5 ounces so 3 shots is 4.5 ounces add a little more for 5 ounces.

Enjoy the Holidays & Drink Responsibly!

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