Calories in Alcohol & How Alcohol Affects the Body

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is the most commonly consumed drug globally, with an estimated 1.6 gallons (6.1 L) consumed by each person (over the age of 15) each year. It is sometimes considered the fourth macronutrient because it contains 7 calories per gram—more than carbohydrate(4) and protein(4) and only slightly less than fat(9).

Ethanol is not essential for biological function and has no nutritional benefit and it’s use actually inhibits the absorption of nutrients. Alcohol is actually perceived by the body as a threat, or a toxin. So to remove it and its metabolites from the body, the metabolism of ethanol takes priority, above the use of other energy providing macronutrients.

It is unrealistic to expect my clients not to drink altogether! To achieve your weight loss goals doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol however, it would certainly help. The best approach is moderation, but with alcohol, that usually requires either incredibly strong willpower or having a solid support system. I would recommend limiting yourself to one standard drink when consuming alcohol while trying to reduce belly fat, and restricting yourself to indulging along with your cheat meal once a week, or a maximum of 3x/week.

Watch the video below for more information!

Question: Are alcohol calories stored as fat?

When alcohol is consumed, it’s broken down into acetate—which is similar to vinegar. The body burns acetate before any other stored energy in the body. In other words, it thrives on the alcohol instead of any excess fat your body would have otherwise been burning off. The body prefers acetate to sugar and fat. This unfortunately means that your body will cling to the foods you ate earlier in the day or week and thrive on the alcohol. That’s why plateaus are so common for those who drink and are working towards fat loss.

The mixes used when consuming alcohol are often full of sugars, so keep that in mind when consuming cocktails.