FFF 119: The Facts About Alcohol & Fat Loss, How To Minimise The Damage – with Steven Kemp


In this episode, Scott and Steve Kemp talk about the effect alcohol has on your body and your waistline. They specifically tackle how alcohol affects your food cravings during hangover, how to structure your training after a night’s booze, and some things you can do to mitigate the effects of alcohol to help you quickly get back on track.

Musician turned nutritionist, Steve Kemp has always been interested in nutrition and exercise science. After getting diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Steve got very interested in finding that fix. He recalls going on tour with his band while reading a lot of stuff about his disease in the hope of fixing his problem. Eventually, when their band took a hiatus, he became a full time nutritionist working with all kinds of people helping them with weight loss.

In this episode, you will discover cool stuff about:

What Alcohol Does to the Body

Liver can deal with 7 grams of alcohol an hour. If you drink that little, nothing really happens. But when you go over that, which is easy to do, that’s when it gets to your circulatory system and that when it starts to reach your brain. Once it gets to your brain, it can affect the areas that control alertness, reactions, memory-making. It can mess with your planning, your control of judgment and your pleasure-seeking.

Effect of Alcohol on Your Appetite and Weight Loss

Alcohol acutely affects your appetite. Several studies show that you can eat 30% more after even some moderate drinking. It can also affect how much you eat after you’re full. Where most fat gain comes from is what happens after drinking rather than drinking itself. Some beers have 200-250 calories per pint and that’s a decent amount. So it’s really the effect of alcohol on appetite that if you take that away, it helps people naturally lose weight.

Squeezing In Alcohol into Your Diet Plan

Moderation is key in your diet and you have to build that habit. In terms of tracking macros, you can count the calories of wine and put that in your calorie budget per day. You can just follow loose guidelines or build an eating plan where you’re not tracking macros, but you’re just making healthy food choices. Then just add in a couple of glasses here and there.

Should You Exercise During Hangover?

Alcohol affects your visual and spatial skill performance quite a lot and it affects you cognitively. You can exercise but be able to manage your expectations. Get your training in when you can actually manage the quality. The quality of your training is important, otherwise, just skip the gym.

How to Mitigate Your Hangover Problems

If you know you’re going to eat a lot of junk the next day, manage your food environment. Clear your fridge of super salty stuff. Create a meal plan ahead of time. Have a healthy meal waiting for you when you get home.

The reason you’re craving salty food during hangover is because you’re massively dehydrated. Your body is very smart, it’s telling you to get in more sodium and electrolytes. After drinking, try to rehydrate before you go to bed. However, be sure to pair it with sodium, otherwise water will only be flushed out.

Drink milk before going to bed. It’s high in sodium so it’s going to rehydrate you better than water.

How Alcohol Affects Your Weight

Various factors can cause your weight to fluctuate. If you’re super dehydrated, you can be lighter. But if you did eat a lot of salty food and drink a load of fluid, chances are you’re going to retain all of that because of the high sodium. Sodium equals water retention. Hence, do not jump on the weighing scale the day after drinking.

Ways to Minimize the Damage of Alcohol

Rule #1: Have a full stomach. If your stomach is empty, 100% of alcohol is going to be absorbed there. On a full stomach, that’s decreased to 66%, so not all the alcohol goes into your stomach. It’s going to get out into the liver and the bloodstream.

Rule #2: Keep your stomach full throughout the day to slow the rate of alcohol getting into the bloodstream. Drink sugary mixes to slow down the absorption. Stick to smaller drinks.

Rule #3 Don’t be tired before you start drinking. Otherwise you get more drunk more quickly and you get more sleepy. Get some caffeine in. Lastly, rehydrate before you go to bed.

  • What alcohol does to your body
  • The effects of alcohol on your appetite
  • Does alcohol make you lose weight?
  • Ways to put alcohol in your diet plan
  • Is it okay to exercise when you’re hungover?
  • How to minimize the effects of a hangover
  • Why milk can help you feel better the next day
  • Ways to minimize the damaging effects of alcohol
Quotes & Take-Aways

Liver can deal with 7 grams of alcohol an hour.

Alcohol acutely affects your appetite. It makes you eat more.

It’s really the effect of alcohol on appetite that if you take that away, it helps people naturally lose weight.

Get your training in when you can actually manage the quality. The quality of your training is important and it always is.

Managing your food environment will make a big difference.

Know what’s going to happen when you get home and plan accordingly.

If you can smash down a pint of milk before you go to bed, that’s also a good way to keep hydrated.

Connect with Steve:

Thanks for listening and the support – if you enjoyed this episode, I hope you can leave the podcast a rating and review on iTunes, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the best time to do that too. This will help the show to get up in the rankings.

Scott is the owner and founder of Food For Fitness. He is a fat loss coach, speaker and fitness writer with a masters (MSc) degree in Applied Sports Nutrition.