Does Alcohol Make You Fat?

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Here is a great little article on something I get asked all the time. Alcohol is something which we all enjoy but what does it do if weight loss is our goal.

By Alan Russell
Question: Does alcohol make you fat, or is it the mix and food consumed along with it that causes one to gain weight?


This is a question often asked near the holiday season, possibly by clients wondering what they can “get away with.” Your question was formed in two parts: “Does alcohol make you fat?” and “…does the food consumed along with the alcohol contribute to weight gain?” Both scenarios are correct.

If you look at the caloric profile of the macronurtients carbohydrate (CHO), protein (PRO) and fat (FAT), each provides a specific amount of energy measured in calories. Basic laws of thermodynamics say that if one’s intake of calories is greater than their expenditure, the excess calories will be stored in the form of body fat. Use the following chart to find the caloric value in foods and drinks.

Nutrient Kcal/gram
Alcohol 7 Kcal/oz

For example, one 12-ounce beer yields 84 Kcal (12 x 7). On a typical drinking binge, several alcoholic drinks can be consumed, leading to excessive calories consumed for that day. That number alone doesn’t appear too alarming, but multiply that by the number of drinks consumed in one day, one weekend, cumulative amount in one month, and you begin to see how alcohol consumption might increase the storage of body fat. In most instances (not exclusively), many of the food items consumed at parties are high in fat and low in nutrients. Worst case scenario would have your client binging on food and alcohol and then going to sleep without adequate time for digestion.

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