Booze, Calories, and Weight Gain - 3 Ways to Avoid Alcohol's Influence on Eating

We’ve all been there. We go out to a bar with friends right after we eat dinner. Despite already eating, once we down a few drinks, we start craving junk food. Next thing you know, you are splitting a plate of nachos.

What’s the connection between boozing and reaching for that plate of French fries?

More importantly, how do you stop yourself from ruining all the progress you’ve been making in the gym?


Once you cross that drink limit threshold, you know what’s going to happen next: A trip to your favorite fast food place. The question is: Why?

What is it about drinking that makes you want to chow down on some of the unhealthiest choices out there?

The science says it has to do with our sense of smell.

Alcohol increases your sensitivity to the smell of food with an emphasis on those foods that taste like sugar and salt.

What’s more, alcohol is nothing more than empty calories. That means you aren’t being nourished by the beer or drink you’re consuming. The result is that your body will start to crave real calories.

Combine that craving with the smell of delicious and unhealthy food and you have the reason you can’t seem to break your weight loss plateau.


Let’s take a look at the top 3 ways you can save your weight loss progress and stop the munchies from taking hold.

  1. Pump the Breaks

First and foremost, set a slow pace. There’s no need to down several shots in less than 10 minutes. Your body is able to effectively metabolize one drink per hour so buy a fancy drink and make it count. Buy an expensive glass of wine, beer, or top shelf liquor and take the time to enjoy it.

  1. Drink Water

You probably hear this one enough but that doesn’t make it any less helpful. Drink your water. Water helps you feel full and staves off that feeling of tipsiness.

Drink it before you head out for the evening.

Drink it while you’re out.

And drink it once you get home.

  1. Eat a High Protein Meal

Before you head out for the evening to do some drinking, you should never go on an empty stomach. That’s asking for trouble. Instead, eat a healthy dinner that is high in protein. Be sure to include complex carbohydrates (think: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc) and healthy fats such as olive oil or pumpkin seeds.

Protein and complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, which means you’ll feel full for a longer period of time.



Do you have your secret methods for avoiding the late night munchies?

Share them with us in the comments section!


Eiler WJ, Džemidžić M, Case KR, Soeurt CM, Armstrong CL, Mattes RD, O'Connor SJ, Harezlak J, Acton AJ, Considine RV, Kareken DA. The apéritif effect: Alcohol's effects on the brain's response to food aromas in women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Jul;23(7):1386-93.

Kesse E, Clavel-Chapelon F, Slimani N, van Liere M; E3N Group. Do eating habits differ according to alcohol consumption? Results of a study of the French cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (E3N-EPIC). Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Sep;74(3):322-7.


1 comment

  • Great article and advice! Thanks!

    Jen Bush

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