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Effects of Alcohol on Metabolism and Weight Loss

Posted on May 08 2021

Effects of Alcohol on Metabolism and Weight Loss

Even though Happy Hour at restaurants and bars has been canceled, no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, alcohol consumption still seems to be on the rise, and it’s easy to see why. With many folks under strict stay-at-home orders and the rest without a job, it is no surprise that national alcohol sales have risen by 54% over the past year.

So, it’s settled. We love to drink alcohol, whether it’s a glass of wine at dinner, a six-pack during the game, or enjoying shots during the weekly meet-up with friends via Zoom. But, it turns out, knocking back too much booze could be what’s keeping you from your slim-down goals.

Here’s why.

One of the reasons why alcohol consumption should be dropped, or better still, removed from a person’s daily diet is because alcohol is the first fuel to be burned by the body’s metabolism. Why’s that? Alcohol is made by fermenting starch and has a high thermogenic effect or amount of energy that’s needed to metabolize.

However, going through the fermentation process, called microsomal ethanol oxidizing system, creates a toxic by-product known as acetate. This is why once we drink alcohol, the metabolism of alcohol always takes priority, as the body needs to remove this toxin. This means that the oxidation of proteins, carbs, and fats is suppressed.  

Alcohol Damages the Stomach and other Organs

Since alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion, it can damage the lining of the stomach. With time, this weakens other major organs of the body, such as the liver and the kidneys, which not only leads to major health issues but can weaken the rate and efficiency of food digestion and harmful toxins being filtered from the body, which ultimately has a negative impact on weight loss.

Lowered Testosterone

The anabolic hormone testosterone contributes to gains in lean muscle mass by breaking down fat molecules. This makes testosterone a powerful component for weight loss. Alcohol consumption has been known to reduce testosterone in the body. This results in low muscle gains. Less muscle gain means that you have to deal with a low metabolic rate, and this can vary dramatically depending on the individual.

It goes without saying that a low metabolic rate makes the job of losing excess flab even more difficult. In this way, by interfering with testosterone production, alcohol consumption lowers the body’s metabolic rate, and in the process, hinders testosterone from exerting its full fat-burning potential.

Increases Your Appetite

According to a study, any alcohol that is consumed before meals can increase the caloric intake as compared to a carbohydrate drink. Researchers have also found that when people drink alcohol during meals, they are likely to consume more as compared to those who would have a soft drink along with their meals. An increased intake of food results in a caloric spike which also hinders weight loss. Since alcohol tends to have a greater appetite-stimulating effect and offers no nutritional value, it is best to remove it from your daily diet, especially if you are looking to shed extra pounds.

It Leads to the “Beer Gut”

For those men who think that the beer belly or beer gut is just another myth, all you have to do is stand in front of a mirror. Most people make the mistake of thinking that since alcohol contains “empty” calories, there’s no harm in imbibing while following a weight loss regimen. They could not be more wrong. While the calories that are found in alcohol are considered “empty,” as in they do not offer any nutritional value, they do end up getting stored as fat in the body. Excess calories lead to weight gain and the inevitable beer gut that’s really difficult to get rid of, which is why it is a good idea to skip alcoholic beverages if you’re looking for faster weight loss.

But Wine’s Good, Right?

Hmmm, we might be on to something here. Drinking wine has been linked to better cardiovascular health and low cholesterol, but a glass of red wine does hit around the 120-mark in terms of calories. However, since wine is sipped rather than chugged down, it has all the signs of a winner, especially when it comes to the type of alcohol one consumes while not sabotaging their weight loss goals. That being said, it is advised to stick to the one-glass rule when enjoying a chardonnay (or any wine for that matter).

 

Ending Note

Anxiety due to major stressful events in life (such as a global pandemic or losing your job) is enough for many folks to become impulsive drinkers, and our body’s chemistry doesn’t help much either. While imbibing does make you feel better by taking away the stress for a hot minute, the long-term effects can be serious. Since alcohol has calories, drinking too much could result in packing on the excess pounds.

Also, alcohol lowers the body’s inhibition, which means you’re likely to eat more than you normally would. Add up the calories from your favorite booze and the meal you’ve just eaten, and you will find that you’re eating heavier calories, which will be apparent the next time you step on the bathroom scale. Depending on your weight loss goals, it would be best to nix the booze from your diet to enjoy faster weight loss and leaner muscle mass.

Besides, alcohol consumption has also been associated with numerous health issues, which means it’s best to empty out that miniature bar before you start on a weight loss regimen.