Alcohol and Weight Loss

Perhaps you have heard that drinking alcohol will make you fat.  The idea is furthered through some of our language choices.  If a man is overweight and carries that weight around his middle section, he is referred to as having a beer-gut.  Recent research has shown that drinking alcohol does not make you fat.  Instead, this research shows that when substituted for carbohydrates in heavy drinkers, alcohol actually caused weight loss.  If this seems contrary to your personal experience with alcohol and weight loss, then let me explain how the process works.  What happens in your body when alcohol is ingested?

The body normally gets energy through glucose.  Carbohydrates and fats that you eat are broken down in the digestive tract so that the body can retrieve the usable energy source glucose.  Glucose is absorbed through the small intestine into to the bloodstream and moves to the various cells of the body to supply them with energy.  Alcohol, on the other hand, is absorbed directly into the blood stream through the stomach without being broken down into glucose.  In the blood stream, it waits for processing by the liver.  In the liver, blood alcohol is changed to the end product of acetate not glucose.  Excess fat and glucose is stored by the body as fat.  Although glucose is not the end product of the metabolism of alcohol, alcohol does tend to hinder weight loss in at least three other ways.

First insulin sensitivity has been linked to consumption of alcohol.  One such study of a large number of subjects performed showed a direct correlation between regular drinking of alcohol and lowered sensitivity to insulin.

People who are resistant to insulin have the tendency to pack on the pounds in their mid section, around the abdomen when they eat processed carbohydrates.  They also have an increased chance of becoming a type 2 diabetic.  If you increase your insulin sensitivity through consumption of alcohol, you may gain weight.

A second study has shown that alcohol may contribute to weight gain or cause difficulty in weight loss in that consumption of alcohol inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hormone that lets your body know that you are full.  When you drink, you feel hungry.  You attempts at weight loss may be sabotaged by overeating when alcohol makes you feel hungry.

A third study suggests that alcohol consumption may inhibit weight loss due to metabolism.  When the liver is busy converting alcohol to acetate, it is less effective of burning fat.  The fat from those greasy foods (and even their lower-fat substitutes) we like to eat when we drink do not get broken down by the liver but are simply stored in the body.

By way of summery of weight loss or weight gain as affected by alcohol, I would like to offer the following:

  1. Alcohol is not metabolized into fat, but into acetate.
  2. When alcohol is consumed instead of carbohydrates, it actually causes weight loss.

The primary concern of weight gain and alcohol consumption is that when alcohol is consumed with fats and carbohydrates, the result is weight gain.

Problems caused by alcohol consumption as related to weight loss/gain:

  1. Insulin sensitivity may be increased by alcohol consumption.  This increase leads the body to store as fat carbohydrates eaten with alcohol. 
  2. When processing alcohol, the liver is less effective at processing fat.  Unprocessed fat is stored as body fat.

Can I have my drink and eat carbohydrates and fats?

You probably know by now that eating and drinking at the same time keeps you from feeling the effects of alcohol as quickly.  You need to know that alcohol when consumed with food causes your body to store fats and carbohydrates as body fat.  Here are some ways that you can continue to have a drink and not ruin your diet.

  1. Alpha lipoic acid mimics insulin when drinking.  Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen rather than being stored as fat since your body does not think that it needs to produce more insulin. 
  2. When you are drinking, limit your carbohydrate intake.  This is a necessity in order to continue to lose weight.
  3. When you choose to drink, do not mix carbohydrates and fats.  The best choice is to eliminate the fats.
  4. Hoodia is a supplement that helps to control hunger.  It is useful when you choose to drink since alcohol suppresses the enzyme that tells your body when you are hungry.

Remember that drinking alcohol takes many nutrients out of your body.  Be sure to replace those nutrients with supplements to remain healthy.

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15 Comment(s)

I have explain so many article of this site in which some of them were very interesting and inspiring.This article has good title with good description.
By: DennisParker 7 years ago
dats gud now i will drink regularly
By: Anju 9 years ago
this is so great, thanks!
By: Julia 10 years ago
roj lo moj lo na mile to khij lo
By: goldy 10 years ago
"lamba piyo and lamba jiyo"
By: sam 10 years ago
what to eat with alcohol and beer is better than whisky/
By: dr kedar 10 years ago
Very helpful. Thanks
By: Kris 10 years ago
good sugestion
By: v kumar 10 years ago
good suggestion
By: vijay 10 years ago
I am almost a regular drinker (with limited quota), but at the same time , i have been working out since 3 months or so on.I dont see any implications of the same & have noticed my tummy going down since then,so dont worry , keep happy & keep boozing !
By: RAJU 11 years ago

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