The Links Between Quitting Alcohol and Weight Loss

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

Quitting Alcohol and Weight Loss

For many, the choice to quit drinking goes beyond addressing addiction. Many people cut alcohol out of their lives for the physical and mental health benefits. Some people limit their alcohol consumption as a way to lose weight.

But is there a link between alcohol consumption and weight gain? And does quitting alcohol help you lose weight? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog post. Read on for the main links between quitting alcohol and weight loss, and for advice on how to stop drinking alcohol.

Does Alcohol Cause Weight Gain?

The relationship between alcohol and weight gain is complex, but various studies suggest a direct connection. Alcohol itself is calorie-dense, and its regular consumption can contribute to an increase in overall caloric intake. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

Additionally, alcohol tends to stimulate appetite. This can lead to overeating and, consequently, weight gain. A 2011 Journal suggests that light to moderate intake could actually protect against weight gain - especially when it comes to drinking wine. Consumption of spirits, however, can contribute to weight gain.

Ultimately, the effect of alcohol on body weight remains undetermined, and more study is required for a definitive link.

Understanding this connection is important if you’re considering quitting drinking for both addiction recovery and weight management.

Alcohol Is Full of Empty Calories

One of the key reasons that alcoholic beverages are associated with weight gain is their high-calorie content. Unlike nutrient-rich foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, alcohol contains what is known as "empty calories."

These are calories that don’t have any nutritional value, providing energy without the accompanying benefits that support overall health. Cutting out alcohol can eliminate a significant source of empty calories, which is a step towards a healthier and more balanced diet.

A pint of beer (4%) has around 182 calories, and a large glass of wine contains 185 calories. This means that five glasses of wine is around half the daily recommended amount of calories for women. If you enjoy a glass of wine and are looking to shed a few pounds, stick to lighter white wines, or alcohol-free wine.

Alcohol Consumption Affects Your Sleep

Quality sleep is key when it comes to losing weight and weight management. Drinking alcohol in excess is known to affect your sleep. Abusing alcohol frequently can lead to chronic sleep disturbance, higher rapid eye movement than usual, and lower wave sleep.

Poor levels of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to increased appetite and a preference for high-calorie foods.

By quitting alcohol, you may experience improved sleep quality. This can have a positive impact on your overall well-being, and support your weight management efforts.

Alcohol Affects Your Body’s Ability to Burn Fat

Another reason that alcohol consumption is linked to weight gain is that alcohol can impact your body’s fat-burning process.

Your body will metabolise alcohol before other nutrients, including fats. When alcohol is present in your liver, your liver prioritises breaking it down. This, in turn, delays the processing of fats.

Ultimately, alcohol slows down your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of fat that your body burns.

This can lead to fat storage and, ultimately, weight gain. By quitting alcohol, you give your body the chance to focus on efficiently metabolising fats. This can help you lose weight.

Will I Lose Weight If I Stop Drinking Alcohol?

In short, yes - you may start losing weight when you quit drinking for several reasons. Firstly, if you quit drinking, you’ll be reducing excess calories from your diet. This can help you to maintain a calorie deficit, which is a crucial principle for weight loss.

Secondly, you may get better sleep when you quit drinking, which can have a positive impact on your health and metabolism. Quitting alcohol can also lead to you making healthier lifestyle choices - for example, more physical activity or a healthier diet. This further supports weight management goals.

Finally, many people make poor diet choices whilst intoxicated - for example, ordering takeaway on the way home from the club or pub, or opting for oven food instead of a healthy home-cooked meal. Cutting alcohol out of your life can ultimately support your weight loss goals.

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

Making the decision to quit drinking or limit your alcohol intake is a commendable step towards a healthier and more fulfilling life. However, the process of quitting alcohol can be tough - especially if you are dependent on alcohol. This is why it’s so important to seek professional support.

At Help4Addiction, we help people with alcohol addiction and drug addiction find the most suitable treatment. We can connect you with the best rehab provider for you, offering free and immediate advice.

The first step is to detox from alcohol. This addresses the physical dependence, allowing your body to get used to life without alcohol. During this stage, you may experience unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms - and in some cases, severe withdrawal symptoms.

Detox medication prescribed by healthcare professionals can help ease these symptoms. Trust Help4Addiction to find the best detox program that meets your needs.

Explore your options today with Help4Addiction - including detoxification, therapy, and aftercare. A comprehensive rehab program encompassing all of the above is the best approach, increasing the likelihood of long-term success. Whether you’re looking for a luxury rehab or something a little more affordable, we can get you on the path to recovery.


Quitting alcohol goes beyond breaking free from addiction - it’s a journey that can have a positive impact on various aspects of your life, including weight management.

By understanding the links between alcohol consumption and weight gain, you can make informed decisions about your health.

Making the change and beginning your alcohol-free life can not only aid weight loss but enhance your overall well-being. Quit drinking today and pave the way to a brighter future.

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