Time to open up the TT Fat Loss mailbag again… today’s questions are all about alcohol and fat burning, and whether or not you can have a little booze while trying to lose fat. I’ll sum up everything below, but first, a few of our more entertaining questions.
Q: How many calories in a jack and coke?
This is one of the most popular questions we get, believe it or not. But the answer is not going to please you.
A shot of alcohol contains 100-150 calories. Of course, depending on where you are and who is pouring the drinks, you might get more or less than a shot in your drink. A glass of Coke is about 100 calories (about 150 in a full can).
So let’s say you’re at home watching the NFL playoffs or latest movie awards show, and pouring your own drinks. Chances are you’re putting close to double the alcohol and mix into the glass.
So if you pour 2.5 shots of Jack (or vodka)
into 1 cup of Coca-Cola (or orange juice),
then POW – that’s 350 calories. If you enjoy
2-3 of those in a sitting, you’re over 1,000
calories (like eating a Big Mac combo).
Who knows what damage you’ll do to yourself after that (tequila shots, anyone?). Not to mention, alcohol lowers our inhibitions, and we often make terrible nutrition choices, eating wings, pizza, and late night Chinese food.
Back in college, I knew guys that would consume over 3,000 calories in mixed drinks and finish that off with 2,000 calories at 3am with a burger and fries and gravy at the local diner.
Some of the bigger boys often knocked back 7500 calories on homecoming weekend where the party started in the early afternoon.
That said, there’s GOOD news.
You can still enjoy wine, beer, and your favorite cocktail once in a while. It’s not going to shut down your fat burning.
Your results come from what you do all week, not because of one night of cutting loose.
The above examples were just to show you the WORST case scenarios.
Q: How much of an impact does 1-2 glass of wine a day have on fat burning goals?
If your total calorie needs for each day are 2000, and you drink 2 large glasses of wine, that means you can only eat 1700 calories of food (sticking to whole, natural foods, of course).
If you can be disciplined and stick to the 1700 calories, then the wine shouldn’t have much – if any – negative impact on your fat burning.
In theory, you can drink two glasses of wine per day and have six pack abs.
There’s plenty of real world case studies to back that up… and if you’re a young man, you can drink a LOT more than that and be ‘ripped’.
But of course, I’m not recommending it.
Nor do I recommend you take up drinking for the health benefits.
I’ve seen first-hand the damage alcohol can do, and don’t wish that on any family. And you just never know who will graduate from a glass to a bottle to an addiction.
But when it comes to your fat loss goals, you just take alcohol into account like you would any other calories. It all comes down to total calories consumed each day and each week.
So to answer the question that is on all of our minds, “How many Jaegerbombs & Irish Car Bombs can I drink and still have abs?” The answer of course is, “It depends.”
For most folks, not many. And frankly, I don’t recommend anyone going out and trying to answer this question through personal experimentation. Best to leave those to the college frat boys.
The bottom line is that alcohol calories add up quick, and lower your discipline against against eating high-calorie foods that take you even further away from your goal.
So when trying to lose fat, save your calories for something better.
Taking care of your health,
Craig “The Bartender” Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer