How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?

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How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss

Drinking seems to be everybody’s favorite pastime, both socially and culturally. Evidence shows that certain types of alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can have some health benefits. Unfortunately, it also plays a huge role in weight management, in a negative sense. If you want to drop excess pounds, you should consider skipping regular drinks at night and on weekends.

Drinking Causes Weight Loss Problems

There are several reasons alcoholism and weight loss are not compatible:

1. Alcohol Contains “Empty” Calories

Alcoholic beverages are known to have “empty” calories. They contain very little in the way of nutrients, so you’re getting no other benefits.

It is estimated that a single can of beer contains approximately 155 calories, and a glass of red wine has 125 calories. Just to compare, an ideal afternoon snack should have only at least 150 to 200 calories. Therefore, a night with several drinks can pack on a few hundred extra calories. Drinks with mixers like soda or fruit juices even have more!

2. Alcohol Is Used as a Primary Source of Fuel

There are several other reasons that drinking can cause weight gain, aside from calories. When alcohol is consumed, it is burned first as a fuel source before the body uses anything else. This includes lipids and glucose.

When your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, excess lipids and glucose end up as adipose tissue or fat.

3. Alcohol Affects Your Organs

Another of the effects of alcohol on weight loss involves the liver. The liver acts as a “filter” for any foreign substances that enter your body, including drugs and alcohol. It likewise plays a huge role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Too much drinking can cause alcoholic fatty liver. This condition damages your liver, thus affecting the metabolization and storage of carbohydrates and fats.  Any change in the way your body stores energy from food can affect weight loss and management.

4. Alcohol Contributes to Excess Belly Fat

Have you ever heard the term “beer gut?” Foods with excessive amounts of simple sugars like soda, candies, and even beer are also high in calories, which will be stored as fat in the body, leading to weight gain. While we cannot choose where all that extra pounds end up, in most cases, they accumulate in the abdominal area.

5. Alcohol Affects Decision Making, Including with Food

Even strict dieters will find it difficult to fight the urge to binge eat when intoxicated. Why? Alcohol can lower inhibitions and can cause poor decision-making. Alcohol likewise triggers hunger signals in the brain, thus increasing one’s food intake.

One study found that regular ethanol consumption for more than 3 days demonstrated a significant increase in food intake for mice. This supports a theorized link between alcoholism and weight loss problems.

6. Alcohol and Sex Hormones

It’s known that alcohol can affect different hormone levels, specifically testosterone. This sex hormone affects many metabolic processes, including fat burning capabilities and muscle formation.

Evidence showed that the association between drinking and weight loss problems can stem from low testosterone levels, which increases the risk of metabolic syndrome in men. This condition is characterized by high cholesterol, high blood glucose levels, increased blood pressure, and high BMI.

Lower testosterone levels can also affect sleep quality, especially among older men.

7. Alcohol May Disrupt a Normal Sleeping Pattern

A nightcap before bed may sound helpful, but think again. Studies suggest that alcohol can increase periods of wakefulness.

Sleep deprivation can cause a hormonal imbalance related to satiety, hunger, and energy storage.

8. Alcohol Affects Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Social anxiety isn’t the only thing that alcohol inhibits. The association between drinking and weight loss problems may also be attributed to alcohol’s effect on digestion. It stresses out the stomach and intestines, leading to decreased release of digestive enzymes and movement of food through the tract. Food is not broken down into the basic macro and micronutrients for absorption. This greatly affects metabolism, which plays a big role in weight loss and management.

How Do You Stop the Effects of Alcohol on Weight Loss?

While others try their best to exercise and eat healthily on most days, this won’t work if you are drinking on a regular basis. To avoid such effects, you have to reduce your drinking to only occasional instances. If you have developed an alcohol addiction, it is best to seek professional help for treatment. In most cases, you will be advised to undergo medical detox. After this, continuous rehabilitation is highly recommended, especially with a Christ-based recovery center. If you are considering a drug rehab near Murfreesboro, you may want to check Haven House in Hartsville, TN too.

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