Can You Lose Weight and Drink Beer?

Fat Guy Slim Woman Toast Beer JuiceIf you’re like me, I often wonder whether drinking beer is inconsistent with losing weight. I really like beer. I especially like the strongest styles from around the world. I’ve been all over the world and have drank the best – Belgian, German, English Scottish,  and even Malaysian (Tiger Stout) to name just a few.

I also used to make my own beer at home. I made all kinds of beers – Belgium abbey style ales, German lagers, India Pale Ales, stouts and dozens of other styles. I think the best beer that I’ve ever made was one similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but made about twice as strong. Like jet fuel!

Anyhow, as you can see I like beer. The kinds of beer I drink are very high in calories, because they’re usually higher in alcohol. So, the question is, can you drink beer and lose weight? The answer is yes and no. Rather than give you a bunch of useless data, let me get you the facts. Here they are from Go Ask Alice at Columbia University:

  1. Calories - all alcoholic beverages have a lot of calories. These calories are just like all other calories. A typical 12 oz light beer has about 105 calories and a regular beer about 150 calories. If you eat or drink more calories than your body needs, you will get fat. See the Fat Loss Formula for information.
  2. Fat Burning Function is Suspended! - that’s right. Normally your liver is metabolizing your stored fat. So before you drink alcohol your body is trying its best to burn the belly fat that is already there.  But, when you have alcohol in your body, the liver’s first job is to use up the calories in the alcohol now in your bloodstream.  So alcohol’s presence in your body stops your fat from being burnt immediately. Wo!
  3. Alcohol Increases The Appetite – alcohol also stimulates appetite in many people. This may also hinder your weight loss effort even more. Have you ever noticed that you get hungry when you are having a beer? Pretzels and nuts on bars seem to go hand-in-hand with beer drinking. Most bars like to put out big dishes of this salty stuff, because you will in turn drink more beer. A vicious cycle, I have enjoyed.

So, as you can see from these facts, losing weight and drinking a lot of beer doesn’t make sense. Having a beer here and there is not going to hurt anything. You still need to list all of your calories for the day….and the beer you drink must show up on that list like everything you eat or drink.

Will I stop drinking beer? Hell no. But fact number 2 above, has taught me now that even if I am drinking a beer with less calories, I am putting my weight loss on hold, until my liver can get back on its feet again after processing the drink. Just thinking that you are drinking light beer is now not just about the calories it doesn’t have.  I hate light beer anyhow.

I hope that this article was useful to you. Please let me know if you learned something or if you have anything else to add.

On a separate subject, this weekend I will again be participating in the Week Warrior Challenge to hold to three weight loss goals. Here are my three goals for the weekend;

  1. Eat less than 2,000 calories per, day every day this weekend
  2. Walk 4 miles each day this weekend (completed 20 miles this week already)
  3. Drink 1 gallon of water every day

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Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 16:16 • beer, beer belly, belly fat, body fatRSS 2.0 feed • leave a response or trackback

5 Other Comments

15 Responses to “Can You Lose Weight and Drink Beer?”

  1. Carla says:

    I LOVE beer! I am Canadian after all! Lol!!! But I usually only have it in the summer, and I can’t drink a lot anyway, usually only one or two at a time.

    Good luck with the Weekend Warriors Challenge! I’m in too!

  2. Brandon says:

    Hey Frank, happy to have you joining us in the challenge! I’m a big fan of beer myself, and still enjoy it on occasion, but definitely in moderation. Good luck this weekend!

  3. Frank Dobner says:

    Thanks Brandon. No beer for me this weekend.

  4. Joe says:

    I am a homebrewer as well. I brew about 10 gallons a month, all variations on the above mentioned goodness. Don’t drink it all myself thanks to the fact my Sunday school class meets in my garage from time to time.

    It really is better not to do the math on the calories though – makes life a little more enjoyable. And better to embrace your love for beer than be reduced to drinking those 60 calorie bottles of beer water.


  5. Frank Dobner says:


    What is your favorite style of beer that you brew? Do you brew from grain or extract? I do not brew anymore, but I am not getting rid of my rig either.

  6. Bill Wallace says:

    Wow! I knew beer wasn’t the best thing for fitness and weight loss but point 2 hit me pretty darn hard! Well, after tomorrow (birthday) no beer until I complete the marathon in June.

    Great Post Frank, keep ‘em coming! :)


  7. [...] Frank from Male Weight Loss Now [...]

  8. Frank Dobner says:

    Yeah. Me too. I did the research on this article to clear up my facts on this issue. Now I am being more selective about drinking…..except for last night

  9. Paramjit says:

    Great article Frank. A lot of people are clueless about the effects of alcohol on weight loss. It halts fat burning, suppresses testosterone, spikes cortisol and as you had mentioned, increases appetite.

    I just wanted to add to your article as I had done lots of detailed research on the effects of alcohol. Amongst them are alcohol’s effects on male sexuality, alcohol’s effect on testosterone and alcohol’s effects on exercise. Would love to hear your views about these articles. Here is the link

  10. [...] and 1,989 calories on Sunday. The biggest offended was that I drank wine. In my prior article article on drinking beer and losing weight on friday, I guess I did not mention wine much. [...]

  11. jess says:

    It’s unfortunate that I have had to temporarily put a hold on my love for anything from Stone Brewery (Arrogant Bastard, how I love thee) but I’m not at the point in my journey where I want to pick up drinking yet. I think once I get to a comfortable weight, I’ll include a beer or two occasionally, the good ones that is (Dog Fish Head & Anchor Steam, you too).

    I guess once again it comes down to moderation and balance because I know I want microbreweries in my life at some point. That’ll have to be a lesson I learn some other time though. For now, I’m happy with my pause.

  12. Frank Dobner says:

    I have just heard about Stone Brewery and even did the legwork to find out where I can get a pint. I will have one. It is really about moderation as you say. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few great words. Arrogant Bastard, what a great name. Sounds like my kind of beer.

  13. [...] Frank from Male Weight Loss Now [...]

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