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 with the boys, watching UFC, and starting to get a little rowdy. Maybe you got there late and want to play a little “catch-up” drinking.
That means you pour a stiff one 2.5 shots of Jack into 1 cup of Coca-Cola, and POW – 350 calorie minimum. Hit that 5 times before you head to a bar, and you’re at almost 2000 calories.
Who knows what damage you’ll do to yourself after midnight (tequila shots, anyone?), and then after last call at the Chinese food place or pizza joint. Overall, the guys I went to college with can probably do about 4000 calories in a night (not including the “boy’z night out” dinner that was had before UFC and then the chips while watching UFC).
It’s possible some of the bigger boys could have knocked back close to 7500 calories on a real, real bad Saturday.
However, that said, depending on your age and WEEKLY caloric intake, you might still get away with it depending on how you live those other six days of the week.
Now I’m not recommending any of the behavior listed above, just wanted to let you know what “worse case” scenario might be.
Q: How much of an impact does 1-2 glass of wine a day have on fat burning goals?
It depends on total calories consumed each day. Each glass of wine is 100-150 calories.
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.
So in theory, you certainly could drink two glasses of wine per day and have six pack abs. There’s plenty of real world case studies to back that up…But of course, I’m not recommending it. In fact, I don’t even recommend “one drink per day for health”. I think that’s a slippery slope and would never recommend anyone to take up drinking.
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.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS