Alcohol and Weight Gain
When we think of beer, we think of a rounded belly, and when it comes to hard liquor, you might think of sugar. In addition to possibly causing a hangover, alcoholic beverages are energy drinks that can lead to metabolic disruptions (weight gain, diabetes) and have detrimental effects on health. So, we've heard it often, but does alcohol really cause weight gain? Let's analyze it together!
Why does alcohol make you gain weight?
Alcohol provides a large amount of empty calories that are unnecessary for the body.
Indeed, apart from the dangerous effects on health, alcohol has an impact on weight gain. Even though the sugar content varies from one drink to another, all wines and spirits provide at least 100 calories per glass. Here are some examples:
- 1 glass of wine represents 100 kilocalories.
- 1 pint of beer represents 140 kilocalories.
- 1 glass of whiskey represents 380 kilocalories.
Moreover, alcohol dehydrates and causes water retention.
Additionally, alcohol consumption promotes fat accumulation, especially around the abdomen. The body focuses on eliminating the calories provided by alcohol and cannot eliminate fats, which are then stored by the body.
We have all experienced an after-work event or a family meal that often starts with an aperitif. This is the most critical moment in terms of calories, mainly due to the sugars contained in alcohol and the appetizers rich in saturated fats.
Furthermore, alcohol consumption stimulates appetite. Despite the calories in the drink, we tend to consume large quantities of chips and various salty snacks.
Alcohol contributes nothing to the body
The ethanol in a glass of wine or beer provides a lot of calories:
7 kcal per gram of pure alcohol, almost twice as much as sugars (4 kcal/g) and slightly less than fats (9 kcal/g). Drinking a glass of wine (10 cl, about 10 to 12 g of ethanol) is equivalent to eating three sugar cubes in terms of calories. Thus, by eliminating alcohol, you reduce energy intake by 10 to 30% depending on your eating habits.
This renunciation is not harmful because alcohol is typical of those "empty" nutrients that provide nothing useful to the body except the hedonistic pleasure they can provide.
Moreover, our body quickly eliminates it by modifying it through a series of chemical reactions, mainly in the liver. This transformation produces, among other things, substances that feed the production of fatty acids while slowing down fat burning. Thus, alcohol doubly promotes the formation of fat deposits. Main organs affected: the adipose tissue of the abdomen and the liver itself.
Limiting alcohol consumption allows better control of one's diet.
Many studies indicate that alcohol stimulates appetite even though its caloric content should suppress it. The psychological conditioning plays a significant role. Indeed, by opening a bottle for an aperitif, we activate the desire to eat. But that's not all; the action of alcohol is also physiological. By acting on the hypothalamus, a gland located at the base of the brain, alcohol disrupts the production of hormones involved in appetite regulation.
Finally, alcohol affects our judgment. Under its influence, our inhibitions and dietary references collapse to make way for the pleasures of hearty dishes, too sweet or too fatty.
Studies on students show that the problem lies in what you will eat in addition. Both snacks and prolonged meals on Sundays can be problematic.
One or two glasses a day will not make you gain weight.
If you drink a lot and have trouble losing weight, you can try reducing and then giving up for a week to see. You never know...
For others, cheers!
Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to health. Always consume in moderation.