How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain
It’s Time To Get Honest…
Alcohol is always a tough topic to discuss, especially when it comes to weight loss and/or gain. From my experience it’s always been one of the biggest challenges for most people looking to lose weight and improve their health, as it plays so many different roles in people’s lives: entertainment, stress relief, nightly ritual, etc.
For many, alcohol often becomes part of a nightly, post-work ritual or something we look forward to for weekend entertainment.
I hear people say all the time…
“Well, I’ve heard/read that a little alcohol can be healthy for you!”
This statement is completely untrue – you DO NOT need alcohol, in any form, to be healthy. It does not contain any secret or special ingredients – and, in my 12+ years of training, I’ve only seen it hamper weight loss and overall health for many of my clients.
The Biggest Misconception About Consuming Alcohol
If you ever say to yourself, “But, I only drink a little at night to help me unwind…”
Drinking in excess doesn’t necessarily mean binge drinking till your completely intoxicated. Rather, it can mean drinking smaller quantities consistently each day/week.
*This consistent consumption is just as bad, if not worse, when it comes to adding excess calories, weight and body fat.
> In this post I’m going to tell you how alcohol promotes weight gain, plus its affects on aging and overall health.
Alcohol is the Epitome of Empty Calories
Super Fact: Did you know that drinking 2 glasses of wine per night adds up to 4,000 extra calories per month, 48,000 extra calories per year!!
Just from this wine consumption alone, that can add a staggering 14 extra pounds of body fat each year!
How alcohol makes you gain weight:
Wine, beer, liquor – really any type of alcohol – when consumed, the body turns it into a substance known as acetate during digestion.
The problem with the acetate is that it’s the first thing your body wants to burn off, to use as energy, when present in the body. In fact, the body will work to burn off the acetate before attempting to burn off any other consumed/stored calories (ie. from proteins, carbs, sugars, etc.) for energy.
So, if you are consistently consuming more food calories than your burning off, and then adding alcohol on top of it, the alcohol will only compound the weight gain.
For example, during a meal, if you consume a cheeseburger, order of fries and 3 beers…then, the body will work to burn off the 3 beers first, and will STORE the calories from the cheeseburger and fries as fat to be used for energy later.
Where Alcohol Calorically Compares to Other Foods:
Pure Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram
**Please, note these are the calories in the alcohol ONLY – this does not include the excess calories and sugar found in the mixers 🙂 ie. sodas, juices, margarita mix, etc.
- Fat contains 9 calories per gram
- Protein contains 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
Some Real Life Examples:
- 5 ounce glass of wine = 150 calories
- 1.5 ounce shot of vodka = 100 calories
- 12 ounces of light beer = 100 calories
As you can see, alcohol is almost as calorically dense as fat. However, alcohol does not provide any additional nutrients to sustain your body and your energy needs, which is why as you drink you typically need to eat, which, only adds more calories into the equation, thus creating more weight gain.
Additional Ways Alcohol Negatively Affects the Body
- Munchies – most people typically get the munchies while they drink. So, you end up consuming foods rich in either fat, salt or sugar to compliment your drinks. The snacks and foods you consume along with alcohol only compounds the calories and increase the fat storage.
- Chronic Dehydration – alcohol dehydrates the body. This plays a major role in why you have a hangover and how long it takes you to recover from a night of heavy drinking.
- Poor Sleep – alcohol affects everyone in different ways, one of the most common complaints I hear is lack of sleep. Consuming alcohol does greatly affect the quality of sleep for most people. Most people who drink fall asleep quickly, but are very restless and tend to wake up in the middle of night, unable to fall back asleep. This leaves you feeling…
- Feeling Tired/Sluggish – the lack of sleep and dehydration will leave your body and mind feeling absolutely sluggish and with no energy. This can last anywhere from 1 to 4 days depending on how much you drink and how it affects your body. This will give you poor performance at work AND in your workouts!!!
- It’s Toxic – alcohol is a toxin. Plain and simple. It’s the #2 cancer causing carcinogen (cigarettes is #1). Most notably, excessive drinking can lead to a fatty/diseased liver, but it can also make you susceptible to other diseases, such as: heart disease, many different cancers, as well as a world of stomach issues.
- Accelerates Aging Process – consistent drinking does accelerate the aging process in multiple ways, most notably through chronic dehydration, which causes: dry skin, bloating, puffiness, redness and inflammation. Most visibly, consistent alcohol consumption will cause premature wrinkles on your skin.
FAQ – Isn’t Red Wine Healthy???
NO. Sorry to break the news.
The reason that some studies claim that red wine is healthy is due to the polyphenol (antioxidants) and resveratrol content from the grape skins used to make the wine.
HOWEVER – along with the antioxidants and resveratrol in the wine, comes the high calories that cause all of the weight gain and the same health risks as with all alcohol.
If you’re looking for a boost of antioxidants, skip the wine and grab a cup of green tea or try my Paradise Iced Tea recipe!
My Challenge To YOU
If you are a person who enjoys your drinks, I’m not here to spoil your fun or make you feel like you should never have a drink again. I’m just urging you to majorly cut back to only drinking a couple times per month.
If you’re serious about getting results and losing weight, then lets take this a step further – I challenge you to stop all alcohol consumption for 6 weeks.
Since News Years Day is upon us, starting on January 1…this will carry you through mid-February (around February 13th). I guarantee you’ll feel better, sleep better, have more energy, lose weight easier and faster and have more productive workouts.