Can You Drink Alcohol on Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

Can You Drink Alcohol on Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

Yes, most people can drink in moderation while on semaglutide for weight loss. A better question might be: does semaglutide reduce alcohol cravings?

Many people on this medication find their cravings decrease, making it easier to drink less or quit altogether.

However, it’s best to talk to your doctor about how alcohol can affect you, especially if you have diabetes or pancreatitis. 

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized advice by your healthcare professional.

Can Alcohol Decrease the Effectiveness of Semaglutide for Weight Loss?

At this time, there are no known direct interactions between alcohol and semaglutide that make the medication less effective

However, it might slow weight loss and increase side effects.

Alcohol, Semaglutide, and Weight Loss

Alcohol can sabotage weight loss by:

  • Adding calories to your overall diet
  • Triggering cravings for greasy and salty food
  • Slowing down your metabolism

The effect of alcohol when you’re taking semaglutide is mainly about how it can obstruct weight-loss efforts. It’s essential to remember that medications for weight loss, like semaglutide, are still relatively new.  

Calories in Alcohol

Alcohol delivers 7 calories per gram, which is relatively high, and even almost as high as the 9 calories per gram of fat. 

A glass of wine can contribute 125-150 calories to your daily intake. Over a year, if you drink every day, you will drink enough calories to gain 12 pounds. 

how many calories can you gain by drinking a glass of wine a day

However, the calories in the alcohol may not be the main concern with these drinks. Alcohol is often combined with sugary mixers, significantly increasing the calorie intake.

For instance, one of the trendiest drinks of 2024, the espresso martini, contains 200-300 calories (depending on the ingredients), and the ever-popular mojito has between 170 and 250 calories and over 20 grams of sugar.

As you can see, alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of semaglutide by adding calories to your diet. 

Does Drinking Lead to More Eating?

Food at bar

Can you remember a time when you ate a hotdog, hamburger, or fries after drinking alcohol? Many of us can recall such moments.

Alcohol can affect hormones like leptin, ghrelin, and GLP-1 which control appetite. As a result, you might feel hungry after just a few drinks.

Moreover, it can activate the brain’s “starvation mode,” making it easier to lose control of what you eat after a day or night of drinking.

Does Semaglutide Reduce Alcohol Cravings?

There are some indications that semaglutide can reduce alcohol consumption. In a very small study, individuals with alcohol use disorders decreased their alcoholic intake after taking semaglutide. However, the study is too small to draw general conclusions.

In another study reviewing social media posts related to alcohol use while on semaglutide or tirzepatide, 71% of the posts reviewed showed indications of people having fewer cravings, drinking less, or having negative effects after drinking.

More studies are underway, and I will update this blog as I learn about new findings.

In my practice, patients often mention a decrease in their desire for alcohol. 

It is certainly a fascinating discovery.

Can Alcohol Worsen Semaglutide Side Effects?

Alcohol can irritate your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, potentially resulting in nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and other GI issues. These are some of the same side effects as you might have while on semaglutide.

Therefore, it’s highly likely that it exacerbates the side effects of the medication, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fatigue.

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol?

In moderation, alcohol is safe, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, if you are using semaglutide to manage diabetes and you are taking other medications to lower blood sugar, alcohol can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. This can result in a medical emergency with severe consequences.

Additionally, pancreatitis is a serious side effect of semaglutide, and alcohol is known to cause both acute and chronic pancreatitis. With these factors in mind, I will leave you to draw your conclusions on this question.

Your doctor is the best person to help you decide if drinking is safe for you.

My Expert Opinion

When aiming to lose weight, reducing your alcohol intake is normally inevitable. Alcoholic drinks are calorie-dense and can trigger cravings for high-calorie foods. 

Therefore, if you are using semaglutide for weight loss, remember that excessive alcohol consumption isn’t advisable. However, moderate drinking can fit into your diet.

Before you indulge, listen to your body. Do you truly want to drink? Do the drinks still taste as enjoyable? If not, it may not be worth drinking the additional calories.

If it is still enjoyable, then just limit your alcohol intake to one drink and avoid drinking every day.

Find ideas about low calorie drinks and what to drink instead of alcohol in this blog post.

Scroll to Top