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Does Alcohol make you Gain Weight?

Hey all! Hope the day is going well. We touched last time upon alcohol and calories. Today, I wanted to go into a little more detail with that, as research shows that at least almost 60% of American adults consumed alcohol in the last month (https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-facts-and-statistics).  We all have been told that alcohol has carbohydrates in it, and if you drink too much then you start to pack on that unsightly beer belly. But is there scientific research that supports this?

The interesting thing is this: there is a substantial amount of research out there that has NOT been able to consistently tie alcohol consumption with weight gain. Some studies have, and some studies haven’t. Anyway you chop it up, here are the important variables to consider:

– The genes you have influence how your body processes alcohol
– If you consume high calorie snacks while drinking, you’re more likely to gain weight
– People who drink in excess may gain weight regardless if they drink beer, wine or spirits
– Buuuut if the alcohol you drink is replacing meals, food, or another beverages, you may lose weight
– Buuuuuuut on the other hand, alcohol tends to loosen people’s resolves in general, and make it a lot easier to eat when you otherwise weren’t planning on it.

One of the biggest problems with the research that is conducted is that the studies rely on information they get from questionnaires with the subjects in each study. This becomes a problem because people tend to drastically underreport how many drinks they have in a given time period, thus drastically impacting the validity of the results of the study. Also, take into consideration that alcohol has 7 calories per gram, most beers (12 oz.), wine (5 oz.) and liquors (1.5 oz.) all contain at least 100 calories per drink (regular beer has much more), and that most likely, on any given Friday or Saturday night, you’re not just going to have 1 or 2 of these, it’s easy to see that this can absolutely become a problem when weight loss is a goal in mind. Even if you did just have 1 drink a day, that’ll average out to an additional ~700 calories a week, which will equal to 1 additional pound over the course of 5 weeks (more complex than this, but still valid for the sake of the example).

Now, couple that with the fact that your body processes alcohol first, before fat, protein, or even carbohydrates (no, alcohol in and of itself is NOT a carbohydrate, but most all of alcoholic drinks do contain carbohydrates in them): This means that while you’re out on the town, boozing it up with your friends, you’re disrupting your metabolism’s efforts of burning up adipose tissue (your fat stores, yo!).

Enjoy your drinks and be informed.  Both are possible, and if you open your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

MG

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