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April 5, 2022

Is Alcohol Making Me Gain Weight?

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness

Getting back to a social life on the weekends or after work is making a comeback in Totowa, New Jersey, since the pandemic. While you may have gained weight during the pandemic from lack of exercise and poor eating habits, switching to alcohol won’t help you lose it. In fact, it will make you gain weight if you’re not careful. Drinking a glass of red wine may actually be good for because of the resveratrol and other polyphenols, but it still contains calories. A 5 to 6 ounce glass of wine contains between 125 and 160 calories. There are negative effects of alcohol on the body, which include physical and mental diminished performance, increased risk of diabetes and liver disease.

It’s all about moderation, since alcohol is just empty calories.

Eating a cookie won’t kill you or destroy your plan to be healthier. Eating nothing but cookies or bags and bags of cookies is where the problem occurs. Alcohol is the very definition of empty calories in most cases. While some alcoholic drinks, like red wine, contain a few nutrients, most are just quick energy, since alcohol is used first, anything combined with the alcohol is stored as fat.

For women past menopause it’s worse. The fat is stored around the middle as belly fat.

The enzyme ALDH1A1—Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1—causes this. This enzyme is suppressed when estrogen levels are higher, but when they drop, it becomes a problem. It causes fat build up around your belly—visceral fat. Visceral fat builds around the organs during middle age in women as estrogen levels drop. Not only do you pack on the pounds with alcohol, you put them on you belly and waist, not the place anyone wants more fat. It can crowd the organs and cause health issues.

Even one drink can slow the process of burning calories.

When the body is processing the alcohol in the wine or cocktails you just drank, it puts a pause on fat burning. The hormone that naturally elevates blood glucose levels so your body breaks down body fat—glucagon—doesn’t work as efficiently or at all in some cases. The liver is programmed to handle the most important things first, like ridding the body of poison and alcohol is registered as poison by the liver. It puts off doing other jobs, like breaking down body fat. One unit of alcohol takes an hour to process, so during that time you won’t be burning fat.

  • The liver’s task of ridding the body of poison means it doesn’t maintain glucose levels in the blood, and they drop. That can give you a case of the munchies that also mean increased consumption of calories.
  • Alcohol can cause insulin spikes, which can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance that slows weight loss. You can drink in moderation, but it slows the process of weight loss.
  • Used in moderation, some types of alcoholic beverages may actually provide benefits, such as improved immune functioning, heart healthy benefits and even lowered risk of dementia.
  • If you’re trying to build muscles, drinking alcohol can impede the process. It reduces testosterone levels and lowers metabolism, since it interferes with muscle gain.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness