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Why Does Alcohol Make You Fat?

We are accustomed to finding nutrition labels on everything we buy to eat and drink. Have you ever given any thought to how alcohol influences your body weight? Well, it does, and I’ll tell you about it here. It is not just about the glycemic index in alcoholic beverages. It has to do with how alcohol affects our metabolism and changes our behavior.

cheers drinking makes you fat gain weight hands party

ever wondered why alcohol can make you gain weight?

Alcohol slows down our metabolism, which generally slows down with age. Most of us noticed how, when we were young, we could eat anything and stay thin. It is not fully understood why alcohol slows down your metabolism. However, it is a fact that the body cannot store alcohol. It flows into the bloodstream and needs to be eliminated as fast as possible. The body’s energy and effort to eliminate alcohol are diverted from “good” calories from food. This means the body could take glucose from carbohydrates and lipids from fats and store them as excess body fat. If we take in 50 calories of alcohol and 50 calories of potatoes, the body will burn the alcohol calories before the potato calories. This makes the potato calories more likely to be stored rather than used up. 

The number of calories in alcoholic beverages also varies depending on the individual’s drinks. Here is a comprehensive chart of calories according to the alcoholic beverage. It is essential to remember that alcohol provides “empty calories”; they do not represent any nutritional value. It is also vital to state that moderate alcohol consumption will not play a significant role in making you gain weight. However, heavy use of alcohol may affect the body such as increased stress levels such as cortisol and will most likely make us fat.

two happy woman holding glass of red wine why does alcohol make you fat

alcohol disrupts many body functions. It’s not so much the calories but the metabolism inhibition.

Alcohol may also have the effect of an appetite stimulant and will make us eat.

When we otherwise don’t eat as much. Some individuals get hungry when they drink alcohol. It is common to be offered an aperitif at the restaurant, which is meant to open our appetite. We are also usually provided food where alcohol is served precisely because alcohol stimulates our appetite.

Alcohol is a central nervous system suppressant and makes us uninhibited. We succumb easily to cravings for food that may generally be we would not consume because of their caloric count. When I’ve been out drinking, I have not been with a crowd that wants to go for vegan food. Typically, while having a few, the menu will be heavy and caloric, such as chicken wings, burgers, steak, and pasta. Many individuals don’t hold back on how much they eat when drinking alcohol.

Alcohol makes people lazy, sometimes choosing a sedentary activity over sports and fitness.

I don’t know anyone that leaves the party hammered to go to the gym or yoga class. Rather than exercise, the people I know would rather sit on the couch and watch something on television. 

Drinking disrupts healthy sleep patterns making us have less deep and REM sleep. It is also a diuretic causing us to get up at night more than usual. Inadequate sleep may affect some people from craving unhealthy food, which could lead to weight gain.

The endocrine system makes and controls various hormones in our body. It comprises the pineal gland, thyroid, pituitary gland, gastrointestinal tract, ovaries or testes, hypothalamus, pancreas, and adrenal glands. An endocrine disruptor, like alcohol, is any substance that impacts the regular function of the endocrine system. When this system is disrupted, imbalances can occur, and weight gain is one of them.

Drinking too much alcohol harms our mental health directly because it is a central nervous system suppressor and makes us behave in ways we would not consider when staying sober. Some people turn to eat for comfort, and it is possible to develop a cycle of excessive alcohol consumption by overeating.

why does alcohol make you fat hands drinking glasses

It’s fun but it does impact the body. Learn about alcohol and how it affects weight.

There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol if you don’t have an addiction problem. However, the information here shows how alcohol may lead to weight gain. We are each responsible for our health, and we must be wise when making choices on how we treat our body and our mind.

It is a good idea to drink in small amounts and increase healthy activities in our lives such as sports, fitness, and wellness. Do this not only to care for your weight but also for your general wellbeing. At La Jolla Recovery San Diego we specialize in helping people who suffer from alcohol abuse as well as eating disorders. We focus on empathy, non-judgment, and science-based methods proven to help people overcome addiction and mental health disorders. If you or a loved one might be hurting from alcohol abuse, contact us for more information. At La Jolla Recovery San Diego our experienced staff is ready to help anyone with substance abuse problems.


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