Alcohol and Weight Gain



Alcohol and Weight Gain
You can drink AND maintain a healthy weight. The key is moderation.




It’s well-documented that alcohol can and will, if abused, cause you to put on weight.

In men this excess weight is stored around the stomach area (hence the term 'beer belly'). In women the excess weight is stored around the hips, buttocks and thighs.

Consuming alcohol contributes to weight gain because of the high caloric content of alcohol.

Many heavy drinkers would disagree with the assertion that alcohol makes you gain weight and, for them, this is true but only because heavy and alcoholic drinkers tend to sacrifice food for alcohol. (read drinking problems to discover the difference between heavy drinking and alcoholic drinking)

Not eating properly means they burn all the calories that alcohol provides and they do not gain weight.

However, they are causing themselves untold damage with the effects of excessive alcohol intake.


Alcohol and Weight Gain
It's More Complicated than Alcohol = Fat

When you drink alcohol, it is broken down into acetate. It is also known as ethanoic acid – an organic acid that gives vinegar its sour taste. This in turn is absorbed by the body, and is used as energy.

Typically when there are vinegar (acetate), fat and sugar present in our body, the vinegar gets burned first.

So if you drink and consume more calories than you require, you are more likely to store the fat from the cheeseburger you ate and the sugar from the Coke you drank because your body is getting all its energy from the acetate in the beer you guzzled.

Scientific research supports that alcohol temporarily inhibits lipid oxidation.

In other words, your body uses whatever you feed it. When acetate levels rise, your body burns more acetate, and less fat.

To put it simply, it is harder for your body to burn fat when alcohol is present in your system.

Following this logic, if your diet consists of fattening food and plenty of alcohol, you will put on weight at a much greater than if you stuck to foods lower in fat and calories.

To further illustrate the above, here is what happens after you have a drink or two:

  • A fraction of the alcohol is converted into fat.
  • The liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetate.
  • The acetate goes into your bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel.


Alcohol and Weight Gain
Continuing to Drink without Weight Gain

First and foremost, reduce your alcohol consumption. Discipline is the key. Go on a strict diet, avoid drinking too much, and if you have to drink to socialize, then make it a few glasses.

Surplus calories are stored as fat, hence you should be choosy of what you eat. Watch your calorie count, and avoid junk food. alcohol and weight gain

There is no sure-fire diet formula or weight loss supplement that specifically targets the weight put on by excess drinking.

To summarize how to get rid of excess weight:

  • A strict diet that avoids excessive calories in-take.
  • Regular exercises to burn the residue fat and help increase your metabolism.
  • Moderate consumption of alcohol.

In short then, you can continue to drink even if you wish to lose weight.

The key is to drink moderately and avoid fatty foods.






Alcohol Calorie Chart

Contrary to what you might think, drinking low calorie alcoholic drinks (or foods for that matter) is not going to help you lose weight. It will make no difference whatsoever. This is because you metabolism reacts to less calories by burning less energy. Less energy burnt equals less fat burnt. So what can you do? The Fat Loss 4 Idiots program (stupid name, we know but don’t let that put you off, this really works) utilizes a method called calorie shifting that ‘confuses’ your metabolism into burning extra calories. Interested? Then click on the image to discover more.




If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:



Return from Alcohol and Weight Gain to Alcohol Abuse Effects 

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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice, Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)



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