Previously we discussed how our bodies have to metabolize alcohol as a priority to stop it from damaging other organs, because it can’t be stored within the body. But can alcohol make you gain weight?
Alcohol doesn’t make everyone gain weight. In fact, for many people with alcohol dependence, alcohol consumption is prioritized over food consumption, which can result in weight loss as a result. However, for people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain.
Alcohol causes metabolic processes to suffer, because your body needs to get rid of alcohol straight away. This means that fats and sugars aren’t burnt off as efficiently as they should be, so they are stored in the body as fat. Additionally, high alcohol consumption can cause the metabolism to slow down. This means that you burn food off at a slower rate, causing you to store higher levels of fat and protein in your body.
Calories in Alcohol
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, that’s nearly as much as fat, which contains 9 calories per gram. A regular beer contains 150 calories, and cocktails can contain as many calories as a small meal! Often these calories are underestimated and people who drink regularly (even just one drink a day) underestimate their calorie intake from alcohol.
What Can you Do?
By dropping 300 calories a day from alcohol (that’s 2 beers, or one mai tai) you could lose around 1.2 lbs. a week, without even trying. Try to limit the amount you drink to an average one drink a day (a 5 ounce glass of wine or 12 ounces of beer) if you are female, and 2 drinks a day for males. If you are out socializing you can limit your weight gain from alcohol by:
- Alternating alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks
- Select light or sugar free versions and mixers where possible
- Never eat on an empty stomach.
- Don’t drink alcohol to quench your thirst; have water alongside your alcoholic drinks.
- Try sipping your drinks to make them last longer.
- If you feel the need to have more than one drink when socializing, don’t drink during the week to keep your weekly alcohol consumption within a healthy range.
Help with Weight Loss
As obesity levels rise and lifestyles change, it can be hard for individuals to successfully lose weight, and keep it off. If you gain weight from alcohol consumption, you will be more likely to develop other obesity related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart conditions. Weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve surgery, gastric band surgery or gastric bypass surgery can help you to lose weight, and keep it off, helping you to reduce your risks of obesity related disease and to feel happier and healthier, for longer.
For more information about the effects that alcohol can have on your metabolism, read Alcohol and Your Metabolism