Sugar Metabolism, Cocktails, and Losing Weight

The Metabolism of Sugar in Your Body

One of the many reasons sugar is important for weight loss is how it’s metabolized in your body. When you’re at rest (not exercising) your body primarily uses fatty acids for energy. These are fatty acids in your bloodstream and from fat cells.  When you eat or drink sugar, like in cupcakes or fruity cocktails, your body switches from utilizing fatty acids to breaking down sugar for energy. Then you’re not using or burning off as many fatty acids from fat cells.

One of the things sugar gets broken down into is glucose, and your body will switch to utilizing that for energy. If you have a really excessive amount of sugar what your body doesn’t end up using for energy, it will store as glycogen in your muscles but also as fatty acids in your fat tissue. So that’s part of the reason limiting the amount of sugar you eat can really help you lose weight.

Drinking Cocktails and Weight Loss

Drinking is one place where you can unintentionally get a lot of sugar. A lot of cocktails have fruit juices in them, which can add a lot of unnecessary sugar. For example, while one small orange may have 9 grams of sugar in it, one eight-ounce glass of orange juice (Minute Maid) has 24 grams of sugar in it. In addition, fruit juice generally has less fiber than actual fruit so you’ll absorb more of the sugar too.

Drinks high in sugar also increase your blood sugar level and make it more likely that you’ll eat more food later in the day or at night to keep your blood sugar elevatedThat’s why you may eat healthy during the day but then after drinking make unhealthy carb heavy late-night choices like pizza. Again this will make it harder for you to lose weight.

What Can You Do About It?

Here’s one way to switch from drinking sweet cocktails to unsweet cocktails. I did this myself, and I think making the switch is really an acquired taste. That’s why I recommend you try it over six months. However, you can try doing it faster if you’re not that attached to sweet cocktails.

Six Month Step Down From Sweet Cocktails:

Month 1-2: Switch from sweet or fruity cocktails to refreshing cocktails, for example, something like a Moscow Mule. You can ask the bartender for recommendations. Refreshing cocktails still usually have sugar in them, but less than fruity cocktails. This will help you get used to the taste of having less sweet cocktails.

Month 3-4: Switch from refreshing cocktails to mixed drinks with Sprite, like vodka and Sprite or gin and Sprite. This still has sugar in it, but it will get you out of the habit of ordering cocktails from the drink menu, which generally have more sugar in them.

Month 5-6: Switch from Sprite and vodka or gin to soda water and vodka or gin with a slice of lemon or lime. If you really have a lot of trouble with the taste, you can squeeze the lemon or lime slice for juice into your drink. This is a minimal amount of sugar until you get used to the taste and then stop doing this as well.

Don’t use tonic water as a mixer because tonic water still has a fair amount of sugar in it. Also, I recommend not using diet soda as a mixer because it still tastes sweet. Diet soda is an easy gateway drink to going back to drinking sweet cocktails.

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