Does Alcohol Consumption Cause Weight Gain?

If you are trying to lose weight, chances are you have reevaluated your diet a bit, reducing your intake of carbohydrates, eating lean proteins, and paying more attention to the portions you eat. However, another facet of your diet you should examine includes your alcohol intake. Whether or not you exercise or eat right can easily get derailed if you continue to drink too many alcoholic beverages, especially mixed drinks that tend to be overly sweet and full of sugar. Whatever calories you spared yourself in food, you could end up doubling with a couple of margaritas.

What Does Alcohol Do to Your Body?

For many young adults, alcohol consumption is something that they do casually and, oftentimes, in social situations. While drinking in moderation is okay to do, many individuals tend not to know what exactly “moderation” might mean in this context. Generally, if you are having more than one or two drinks per day, this is considered excessive. Not only will excessive alcohol consumption prevent you from making headway on your weight loss goals, it will also impair your judgment, slow your reflexes, and affect your memory. The more you drink, the more severe these issues will become.

Below is a list of some of the effects alcohol has on the body:

  • Drinking has significant effects on the brain, altering the levels of GABA and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that are part of the brain’s reward system. Having too much of either of these can lead to an increased heart rate, aggression, and depression.
  • Of course, your liver receives the brunt of the damage caused by alcohol consumption. Given that it is the organ responsible for processing and metabolizing alcohol, excessive consumption can cause your liver to accumulate fat, which can ultimately lead to fatty liver disease.
  • Alcohol consumption can also lead to an increase in estrogen levels, which has been linked to breast cancer.
  • Drinking also causes the stomach to produce excessive amounts of acid, which can cause a variety of conditions, including inflammation of the stomach lining.

Alcohol Consumption and Weight Gain

The short answer to whether drinking alcohol can cause a person to gain weight is, yes, it can. Many alcoholic beverages are packed with calories and high in sugar, especially when you throw in the additives and mixers that are often included. Not all calories are bad, of course, but the ones found in alcoholic drinks are empty, which means they are only going to help you pack on pounds. Research has shown that those who are heavy drinkers have a 41% higher chance of going from a healthy BMI weight to one that is overweight. If you are already obese, alcohol consumption can increase your chances of packing on more weight by 35%.

Of course, it is more than just the calories in alcoholic drinks that contribute to weight gain. Alcohol is an appetite stimulant, so you are far more likely to eat larger quantities and make poor food choices while drinking, especially it also reduces your inhibitions.

If you are seeking to lose weight and enjoy a healthier lifestyle, the fact is that you are going to have to reduce your alcohol intake. Drinking excessively will not only impact your weight, but cause a vast array of other problems, so it is important to exercise moderation.

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