Myth or Truth: Alcohol Induces Weight Gain
After a hectic day, what mostly calms the nerves is a soothing beer mug or wine glass. If ice-cold, it flirts with the esophagus the way water adheres to the glass. Indeed, many people will agree that they have consumed a specific volume of alcohol during their lifetime. Ultimately the go-to beverage for many, the 9,000-years old drink has soothed thirst across generations. Unfortunately, looking good and staying in shape, also an age-long tradition, does not mix well with consuming lots of calories (this case, in alcohol form).
The debate about whether alcohol contributes to weight gain has made headlines on social media. And what better time to uncover the truth than now when health concerns have shot to the roof? Basically, the debate is a tricky one as the answer is deeply rooted between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no.’
Alcohol, Weight Gain, and Calories
Several people understand that alcoholic beverages are neither health boosters nor calorie-deficient drinks. What many, however, do not realize is that the consumption of alcohol poses more problems than mere calorie gain. Contrary to calories from a carbohydrate source, alcohol calories aren’t stored in the body. This conditions the body to ‘put the calories to work’ immediately. Sound good, right? Perhaps yes, until you realize ‘putting the calories to work’ means that metabolism stops effectively so that the body can focus on breaking down the ‘alcohol calories’ first.
Now imagine that you just had a feast, the calories would be stored as fat as the body is ‘temporarily busy.’ To compound the problem, your sober state could induce hunger, which leads to further consumption of calories.
In essence, any calorie-burning exercise halts after the introduction of alcohol into the system. ’ holds for the stomach where fats are mostly stored. It also explains why alcoholics tend to develop a ‘pot belly’ when alcohol headlines their primary food groups.
A simple trick is to eat while drinking as it promotes ‘fullness’ and slows down the absorption of alcohol. Having food in the stomach before drinking also reduces metabolism balances the blood sugar level in the system.
Similarly, alcohol consumption introduces concentrated calories into the system – double of what is recorded for proteins and carbohydrates. Meanwhile, the urge to consume more alcohol is due to its ability to trick the digestive system in volume, eliminating the feeling of fullness. For instance, your brain sends a signal to stop eating when full, but it isn’t true for alcohol consumption. Three glasses may turn to four bottles, stacking your stomach full of calories.
Damage to Internal Organs
More than weight gain, alcohol consumption wreaks havoc on internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and the stomach. Most times, metabolism often exceeds a time cap, and repeating the cycle weakens the system, leading to non-efficient fat burning processes. Over time, this can lead to a permanent inability of the system to burn fat, causing adipose fat deposition and, ultimately, weight gain. Similarly, alcohol can affect hormonal production as in the testosterone – a hormone that promotes muscle function and development. Once alcohol compromises the creation of this hormone, burning fat or losing weight becomes a lost cause.
Dietary Inhibitions and Alcohol
Another interesting fact is how alcohol can influence your dietary choices. Some people try to trick their system by choosing alcohol over food, expecting a full belly afterward. But they forget that alcohol contains simple sugars, which when broken down, upset the blood sugar level in the body. This indicates sweet cravings as these ‘junk’ are no good for an athletic figure.
Does It Mean That An Absence Of Alcohol Promotes Weight Loss?
Moderate or minimal consumption of alcohol doesn’t facilitate weight gain, but you must compensate for the caloric value of drinks in your diet. Presently, some studies mention that an alcoholic beverage a day, especially in the form of red wine, improves heart health, and HDL cholesterol level. Ultimately, the futuristic statistics don’t predict a ‘ban on alcohol’ anytime soon. But if you must maintain a healthy figure and poise, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid sugary cocktails
- Induce the feeling of dullness by consuming water in between drinks.
- Eat healthy snacks, seeds, nuts, or other high-protein foods when drinking.
- Do not binge drink; one to two drinks at a time is recommended.
- Always consume in moderation.