If you’ve been hitting that treadmill consistently and eating your greens but still aren’t losing weight, the problem could be in what you drink. That’s right: your alcohol consumption could be sending all your weight loss efforts flying out the window. But how exactly does Alcohol affect weight in the first place?
Alcohol and Weight Gain
Trying to lose weight but seeing little to no progress can be frustrating, especially if you cleaned out your fridge and filled it with every colorful vegetable on the planet. And if you’ve been working out consistently, then the frustration only grows.
But before you throw away your newfound lifestyle and label it a sham, it could be your drink. Alcohol has been intrinsically linked to weight gain. And if you’re an individual that can’t simply say goodbye to your nightly indulgences of a few glasses of wine, then perhaps cutting back would work.
But before we get into how to work around alcohol consumption and weight gain, let’s take a look at how they’re connected. Below are a few reasons Alcohol leads to weight gain or makes weight loss very difficult.
It Stimulates Appetite
The number one key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume per day. This is unlikely to achieve if your appetite is constantly prodding at you to consume more of that fried chicken. But how does Alcohol even stimulate appetite in the first place?
Studies have found that Alcohol works by activating the cells in the hypothalamus that are usually activated by feelings of hunger. When Alcohol does this, the feeling of hunger can be intense and cause one to over-eat. And just like that, you’ve gone over your daily calorie intake.
It Slows Down Metabolism
Metabolism is the rate at which your body converts the food you eat and the liquids you drink into energy. In other words, your body can burn and use calories for energy. Individuals with slower metabolism often experience weight gain. This is because the body doesn’t burn the calories fast enough, and they end up being stored as fat.
Several factors can slow down your metabolism, such as not being physically active. But Alcohol is another culprit in slowing down one’s metabolism considerably. Why? Because your body will end up using Alcohol for energy instead of the calories you’ve consumed.
And like mentioned earlier, unused calories end up getting stored as fat.
It Damages Liver Function
Alcohol is known to damage the liver and cause liver disease or a condition known as alcoholic fatty liver. When the liver is damaged, it can’t function properly. This means that it won’t metabolize the fats and carbs being consumed.
And if your body can’t metabolize the above, your body will also store it as fat.
It Affects Normal Sleep Patterns
For some, indulging in some alcohol right before bed is ritualistic. But research suggests cutting that habit out completely since it can disrupt your sleep cycle. If you often find yourself waking up during the night or staying up longer at night, it could be Alcohol.
And the longer you stay up, the more likely you are to get hungry and snack. Research suggests that staying up longer at night equals the release of the ghrelin hormone. This hormone not only causes hunger, but it encourages food consumption and the storage of fat.
And the longer you do this, the more likely you are to add a good amount of weight.
It Lowers Your Inhibitions
The fact that Alcohol tends to lower your inhibitions is well-known. Once consumed, Alcohol works by suppressing the Central Nervous System, crippling your ability to make sound judgements. This is why the drunker a person gets, the more uninhibited they become.
This poor decision-making that comes from getting drunk also extends into food choices. That is, one will end up eating a lot more than they should when drunk. And by extension, eating unhealthy foods and gaining weight as a result.
It Affects Nutrient Intake and Digestion
Has your stomach been feeling a bit strange lately? It could be the Alcohol that you’re so fond of. Alcohol not only slows down metabolism but also slows down the movement of food in the digestive tract. This is primarily because Alcohol affects the secretion of digestive juices in the tract that are responsible for breaking down food.
This makes it hard for the body to absorb any nutrients from the consumed food. Other than affecting your health, this makes it very hard to manage one’s weight effectively. Of course, your metabolism will also be affected.
It’s Nothing but Empty Calories
Empty calories can be found in sugary drinks, cakes, junk food, sweets and Alcohol. Empty calories mean that those items contain calories that provide the body with low nutrients if any.
Not all alcoholic beverages are the same, however, since some contain more calories than others. Wine is known to contain up to 150 calories, while ram contains 85. However, a drink’s average calorie amount can be influenced by sugar, creams and other mixers.
It Encourages Belly Fat
That consistently growing belly that refuses to disappear no matter what you do could be blamed on your Alcohol. As mentioned already, Alcohol contains a lot of calories. But where do these calories go?
The body likes to take these extra unused calories and store them around the fat around the stomach. If you want that beer gut to go away, you may need to cut out your alcohol consumption.
But if you’re struggling with alcohol use disorder, seeking treatment first is advisable.
In conclusion, Alcohol does affect one’s weight. That is, it can lead to weight gain. If you’re trying to lose some weight, cutting back on alcohol consumption or completely cutting it out would make a huge difference.
However, if you are a person with alcohol use disorder, you may want to seek medical intervention first. This way, you can treat the disorder first, then focus on the rest of your health journey.