Could alcohol be affecting your fat loss?
I get a ton of questions about alcohol, so I figured I would make a post about it and clarify some things.
First, let's talk about macronutrients, which include protein, carbs, fat, and ALCOHOL. The most common macros are the first 3. You will see these on food labels because your body needs them. One gram of protein yields 4 calories, one gram of carb yields 4 calories, one gram of fat yield 9s calories, and alcohol yield 7 calories per gram. The amount of calories per gram basically tells us how much energy we get from each macronutrient.
The problem with alcohol is that if you look the nutrition facts up or plug them into MyFitnessPal (MFP), it will tell you the total calories, but won't list the macros, which can cause you to consume calories in excess. I'll explain why by using Vodka as an example. If you drink a Vodka club, you have 0 calories in the club soda, but the alcohol is 64 calories per fluid ounce. The issue is when you look this up on MFP or online it shows that it has 0 protein, carbs, and fat, so where do the 64 calories come from? Alcohol! Divide 64 by 7 and you get 9.14 grams. This is where those calories come from, but if you add your drinks to MFP it will not change your macros because you don't have a daily total for alcohol.
I think this gets a lot of people in trouble because they consume their daily macros plus a few drinks, which leads to an excess of calories (weight gain).
I see commercials advertising light beer that only has 3 grams of carbs, but has 100 total calories. If you multiple 3*4 you get 12 calories from carbs. The other 88 calories come from alcohol. What I recommend if you are going to have a couple drinks is the following: divide the total calories by 4 and subtract that many carbs from your total intake. This will ensure you don't go over total calories.
It's still not optimal to drink when your goal is fat loss because the by-product of alcohol metabolism, acetate, is toxic. When you consume alcohol, fat loss is put on hold until you burn those calories off.